KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Four mountain guides killed in the June 5 Mount Kinabalu earthquake were honoured along with over 100 other hero guides by Sabah Governor Juhar Mahiruddin in conjunction with his 62nd birthday celebrations.
Mr Valerian Joannes, Mr Robbie Sapinggi, Mr Ricky Masirin and Mr Joseph Salungin, who died while helping to save climbers, were posthumously awarded the Bintang Setia Kinabalu (Star Secretariat Kinabalu).
The award was also bestowed upon 157 mountain guides as well as staff of Sabah Parks, Sutera Sanctuary Lodges and Mountain Torq, who worked to rescue 160 people trapped on the mountain following the disaster that killed 18 people.
Mount Kinabalu Guides Association chairman Richard Soibi said they never expected to get the award, and he himself was unaware of it until he saw the honours' list yesterday.
"We are surprised but thankful that the government recognised our role in the earthquake. We are truly humbled by it," he said.
Those awarded, he said, included Mr Fredyrick Alim, Mr Hairi Rainin, Mr Moidin Sompot and Mr Obyzander Sabran, who risked their lives at the height of the rock falls in the summit area in the immediate aftermath of the quake.
A total of 25 guides were stranded and another 89 were involved in the rescue efforts.
The guides were expected to receive their awards from Juhar during a special ceremony at a later date.