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Service before Self: SCDF NSFs with the Right Stuff
It’s about camaraderie, pride and dedication – two SCDF NSFs explain why they’re committed to giving their best on the frontline.

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GRAPHIC: Home Team News
This year, the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) Full-time National Servicemen (NSF) Awards went to two young officers who embody the best of the Lifesaving Force – Sergeant 1 (SGT1) Ahmad Azhary Bin Ahmad Tajuddin and Lieutenant (LTA) Lim Rong. They share their stories with us. 

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All the photos in this article were taken pre-COVID-19. PHOTOS: SGT1 Azhary

SGT1 Ahmad Azhary Bin Ahmad Tajuddin
Section Commander, Jurong Fire Station
As SGT1 Ahmad Azhary and his team responded to a fire at Bukit Batok Street 21 in October 2019, a million thoughts raced through his mind. 
“There were residents who might need help,” he recalled. “We also knew we had to control the fire and stop it from spreading further.” 

Despite the nerve-racking situation, SGT1 Azhary put on a brave front as his team fought the fire. “As Section Commander of my crew,” he said, “I needed to remain calm and display confidence in my decisions.” 

Fighting fires is but one of SGT1 Azhary’s many duties as a Section Commander at Jurong Fire Station. “My main role is to lead my crew during firefighting operations,” he said, “but I also assist with running daily routines required in the station and keeping an eye on team movement. Every duty shift is never the same as another, and emergency calls are part and parcel of life as an emergency first responder.” 

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Strength and resilience: SGT1 Azhary in action. PHOTOS: SGT1 Azhary

So committed is SGT1 Azhary to his duties that he applied for a Voluntary Extension of Service so that he could continue helping his fellow NSFs refine their firefighting skills and knowledge. “I felt that I could still contribute to the team,” he explained. “Whenever possible, I help guide new firefighters in their work so they will be ready when a fire call comes.” 

This spirit of giving back is also evident in his volunteer work – having served as a Cadet Inspector with the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) since 2014, SGT1 Azhary continues to mentor NPCC cadets at his alma mater, Yishun Town Secondary School. 

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Always there for his mates: SGT1 Azhary has built lasting bonds with those he has served with. The photo on the left shows the Hari Raya Open House he hosted for his Rota mates. PHOTOS: SGT1 Azhary

Last year, when the opportunity came for SGT1 Azhary to be part of the SCDF contingent for the National Day Parade, his heart leapt. “It has been my dream to march in the National Day Parade since I was 13,” he said. 

Training for the National Day Parade took place during Ramadan. “Our first few training sessions were mentally and physically draining as I was fasting, and the weather was very hot,” he recalled. 

But ultimately, all the hard work was worth it. “As we progressed from our rehearsal to the Padang, it all finally came together,” He recalled. “Seeing the stands fill up with fellow Singaporeans – it was an indescribable feeling.” 

SGT1 Ahmad Azhary Bin Ahmad Tajuddin received SCDF’s NSF of the Year Award for his solicitude, commitment to excellence and strong enthusiasm to serving in SCDF. 

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LTA Lim Rong
Rota Commander, Ang Mo Kio Fire Station
LTA Lim Rong’s NS experience has been meaningful because of the bond he shares with his fellow officers. “My most memorable takeaway as a Rota Commander is the camaraderie within my team,” he explained. 

As a Rota Commander at Ang Mo Kio Fire Station, LTA Lim Rong supervises operations for his team, responding to emergency incidents and assisting the Fire Station Commander. “I spend most of my duty hours working with my team to ensure that we’re operationally ready to respond to emergencies,” he said. “This involves conducting training, reviewing the readiness of our men and equipment, and ensuring that key administrative tasks are properly managed and completed.” 

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My NS memories: Snapshots of LTA Lim Rong’s journey from Officer Cadet to Rota Commander. PHOTOS: LTA Lim Rong

LTA Lim Rong’s responsibilities as a Rota Commander has also guided him towards his career aspiration – to become a doctor. “I hope to build a close connection with the people I help,” he explained, “and to journey with them as they return to health and normalcy.” 

This is also why he has volunteered with a community group at Cassia Crescent for over two years. “I visit residents, chat with them and try to help them with their problems,” he shared. “If a resident has greater needs, I'll work with other volunteers and professional agencies to provide support.” 

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Committed and ready: LTA Lim Rong in training and action. PHOTOS: LTA Lim Rong

LTA Lim Rong’s most memorable experience as a Rota Commander was the first emergency call he responded to as a firefighter. This was in late 2019 and a fire had broken out in the Yio Chu Kang area. “It was the first time my actions would have a tangible, decisive impact on the safety of our firefighters,” he recalled. “At that moment, I truly understood the responsibility we bear as officers.” 

Arriving at the scene of the fire, LTA Lim Rong felt the pressure mount, but the team worked together to quickly contain and extinguish the fire. “Our swift, efficient actions assured me that our responders were trained and ready to respond, whatever emergency we may face,” he said. “After almost a year as a Rota Commander, I feel firmly that my Rota is like my family, and I’ll always cherish our bonds and memories.”

LTA Lim Rong received SCDF’s NSF of the Year Award for displaying the qualities of proactiveness, compassion and dedication in his various different duties.  
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Rachel Sin
  2. 30 July 2020
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