Protect the nation; serve the community

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09oct18_news
09 Oct 2018 | COMMUNITY

Protect the nation; serve the community

// Report Thrina Tham

// Photos Chai Sian Liang and courtesy of interviewees

English Melayu

Beyond the duty to defend Singapore, soldiers also bear the responsibility to help the less fortunate in the community.

It is this mentality that drove the men of the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF's) General Support Ammunition Base (GSAB) to regularly volunteer with the elderly and the intellectually disabled.

One of its team has been engaging the elderly of Toa Payoh Seniors Activity Centre over the past year. The soldiers organised activities such as a modified version of 5BX (five basic exercises); an elderly Basic Trainfire Package using toy guns; and buddy first aid, to help keep the seniors active.

"Leaving smiles on their faces and knowing that we have helped to make their lives slightly better…(brings us great) satisfaction," said Commanding Officer Military Expert 5 (ME5) Ben Tan.

"This positive reinforcement also builds the culture of compassion which the unit hopes to engender," he added.

Such volunteer work is not new to the unit which has also cleaned the premises of the Toa Payoh Active Ageing Hub, and put up performances for the children at MINDS Woodlands Gardens School.

For their time and commitment, GSAB received the SHARE Achiever Award at the Community Chest (ComChest) Awards ceremony held on 9 Oct at the Istana.

ME5 Tan received the award from Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee on behalf of his unit. The SHARE Achiever Award was introduced this year as the highest award under SHARE to recognise organisations for their high employee participation rate.

To be eligible, units must make a minimum annual contribution of $5,000 and have a participation rate of 98 per cent or more.

At the awards ceremony, ComChest Chairman Phillip Tan thanked the award recipients: "Each of us can do our bit, no matter how big or small, in giving back to society. We hope that you continue to be our partner to create greater impact in empowering lives."

President Halimah Yacob was guest of honour at the event, where she also gave out awards.

This year, a total of 66 Ministry of Defence and SAF departments and units were awarded with the SHARE award, as part of the annual ComChest Awards to recognise outstanding contributions to the social service sector. 

Together, they also raised more than $1.7 million for ComChest over the past year.

Another SHARE Achiever Award recipient was the 3rd Transport Battalion (3 TPT Bn), which has held karaoke and bingo sessions as well as conduct area cleaning at the Geylang East Home for the Aged – the unit's adopted home since 1995.

Such efforts stem from 3 TPT Bn's belief in nation-building, said its Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Loi Heng Yang, who received the award on behalf of his unit which also won the SHARE Platinum Award last year.

"Young Singaporeans who come into National Service should have an opportunity to give back to the society and the less fortunate," said LTC Loi.

"We want 3rd Transport soldiers to be responsible Singaporeans as well as competent soldiers," he added. 

At this year's ComChest Awards, SAF also earned five SHARE Platinum Awards for high employee participation as well as a Charity Silver Award for raising over $100,000 for ComChest during the 2017 Army Charity Drive.

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