That’s The Spirit!

A tribute was paid to volunteers, interest groups and corporate partners at the 15th SAFRA Awards.

By Edmund Wee      4 January 2020

It was an evening cheers and felicitations at the 15th SAFRA Awards 2019, which filled with celebrated the spirit of volunteerism. Held on 26 Sep at the newly renovated SAFRA Mount Faber, it was graced by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Defence and Chairman, SAFRA Board of Governors, and Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, President of SAFRA, Senior Minister of State (Defence).

Held in recognition of SAFRA volunteers, interest groups and corporate partners for their contributions to SAFRA, National Service Resort and Country Club and So Drama! Entertainment, the biennial event also honours individuals who have excelled in the fields of culture, art and sports with the Performance Awards.

The evening kicked off with a keynote speech by Dr Ng, who reminded all of SAFRA’s role: Over and beyond providing country club facilities to NSmen and their families, SAFRA’s highest mission is to be part of the larger and critical national effort to build the right ethos for Singapore’s armed forces, as well as the national spirit to defend the country.

Some of SAFRA’s long-standing corporate partners – hailing from various sectors ranging from automotive (Volkswagen) and finance (DBS Bank) to education (Kinderland Educare Services) and social services (Families for Life Council) – were honoured.
Interest groups were also lauded for creating opportunities for NSmen to bond through shared passions and common activities. In particular, the spotlight shone on the SAFRA Community Services Club and SAFRA Squash Club.

The highlight of the ceremony was the segment for individual recipients – 109 volunteers were given awards for various categories ranging from the Long Service Award and the Meritorious Service Award to the Outstanding New Volunteer Award.

Foo Tee Jun was given the Long Service Award for 45 years of service in the SAFRA Photographic Club Committee, as was Shirlyn Tay Seow Ling for her 15 years in the SAFRA Tampines Running Club Committee. Others were recognised for their strong involvement and initiative in interest groups.

One such volunteer was CPL (NS) Soh Yi Da, a member of the SAFRA Toa Payoh Executive Committee and Vice-Chairman of the SAFRA Youth Network Committee, who was awarded the Meritorious Service (Bronze) Award. He said he felt honoured: “This journey had been truly rewarding – serving together with fellow passionate volunteers and a dedicated secretariat, as well as having the satisfaction of seeing the joyful faces of participants in our initiatives to engage NSmen.”

Soh also reaffirmed the importance of the SAFRA Awards: “It serves as an important recognition and appreciation of volunteers’ dedication and commitment in serving fellow NSmen. It epitomises the spirit of service and inspires volunteers to strive to give their best.”

Dr Ng (above, left) said in his speech that SAFRA is conducting a review to encompass new strategic partners, using digital technology to enhance user experience, and strengthen social cohesion and psychological resilience among NSmen.

LTC (NS) Ronald Cheong Yuen Hsing, an avid dragon boat paddler and Battalion Commander for 9 Divisional Air Defence Battalion, RSAF, who was awarded the Outstanding New Volunteer Award (Dragon Boat Interest Group), said: “I’m happy to be recognised for my contributions to the SAFRA Dragon Boat Club. As a new volunteer, I hope to continue to give more moving forward.”

Our heartiest congratulations to all the winners!