Mr Sahari Ani's interest in nursing has seen the Director of Services and Red Cross Youth deployed to 18 disaster response missions across 16 countries in his 16 years of humanitarian work.
His four-week mission during the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir remains etched in the 55-year-old's memory. It was the first time that he helped to deliver a baby on a mission.
As part of Nurses' Day today, Mr Sahari, an only son, recalled how his career choice had surprised his family.
He said his decision to study nursing in 1986 happened on a whim after he accompanied his friend to apply to be a firefighter in the public service division.
Nursing equipped Mr Sahari with self-confidence, empathy and the ability to remain calm in high-pressure situations.
"Every mission is new and exciting. I am always learning, and adapting to different situations," he said.
Miss Serene Chia, 61, director of the Red Cross Home for the Disabled for the past 13 years, also takes part in mobilisation missions.
The home provides residential and daycare services for patients with disabilities. It has more than 90 live-in residents.
Miss Chia has received several awards from the Ministry of Health for her contributions, which included her work during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003 and the Bantul earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java in 2006.
One of her enduring memories is of the team spirit among the healthcare personnel caring for fever-ridden patients during the Sars outbreak.
Miss Chia was also involved in a humanitarian mission in Banda Aceh in Sumatra after it was devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Her team set up an in-patient ward to take in survivors, relying on minimal resources to tend to the patients. They even used rain water to clean the ward.
Though Miss Chia has now ventured beyond the hospital, her nursing spirit remains as strong as ever.
She said: "There are many things we can do and we should not restrict ourselves. Be brave enough to seek and provide."
Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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