An inspiring volunteer at 76

An inspiring volunteer at 76
Mr Chee Chat San, a Changi Service Ambassador and guide at the Khoo Teck Puat hospital.

SINGAPORE - Mr Chee Chat San could have taken it easy after he retired as a ship radio inspector at the age of 67 but the thought was unappealing.

Every Monday now, the 76-year- old welcomes transit passengers at Changi Airport and directs them to special features such as the swimming pool, social tree and koi pond, "where you can feed the koi and touch them during feeding time".

Besides offering information, he is also a friendly face for lost travellers. When he is not volunteering at the airport, he is volunteering at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, or in church.

"We feel so happy that we're able to repay society a tiny little bit," he said of his team of Changi Service Ambassadors, a programme under senior volunteer organisation RSVP Singapore. "Every day is a bonus for me, so I want to make full use of it."

Mr Chee was named Volunteer of the Year by RSVP at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Nite yesterday.

Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor, who was the guest of honour at the event, said she was inspired by these individuals.

"Your actions speak louder than words in educating our society that seniors are assets of our society," Dr Khor told around 330 seniors at the dinner at Safra Toa Payoh.

At the dinner, special commendation awards were presented to Mr Richard Cheong, 63, a trainer who develops teaching materials for IT courses for seniors, and Ms June Low, 67, who volunteers with young children and seniors from low-income families.

RSVP Singapore has over 1,000 members now, up from around 200 when it was started in 1998.

It entered the Singapore Book Of Records yesterday for the largest heart formation using message cards, created by 19 trainee teachers at the National Institute of Education. The trainees collected 4,700 messages of appreciation from young people to share with the organisation's volunteers.

This article was first published on December 5, 2014.
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