SINGAPORE - Mr Lim Hock Heng has been volunteering for the last 45 years and he does not plan to stop.
"There are still a lot of things to learn and people to meet," said the 71-year-old, a retired clerical officer.
He has been volunteering with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) since he was 25 to support youth offenders on probation by checking in on them and befriending them.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, he is still doing his part, spending about an hour each on four or five nights a week calling the youth to find out how they are.
Mr Lim is among 394 volunteers and partners recognised for their commitment and dedication at the MSF Volunteer & Partner Awards held virtually on Wednesday (Jan 27).
He was one of two recipients of the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award - the highest accolade available - given out to individuals who have made significant contributions over at least 30 years.
"I first started volunteering simply because I read about the opportunity in the papers and was curious. As I got more and more involved, the years just passed by," he said.
"I hope more young people or retirees can do something for our community, as this can help them gain a wider perspective of life," he added.
The other Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Award recipient is Dr Anamah Tan, who is an advocate for gender equality and has put in many hours in her efforts to raise the status of women here. She is also one of the founding members of the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations.
The other award categories were Outstanding Volunteer Award, Friends of MSF Award, Community Cares Award and Long Service Award.
The total number of recipients this year is almost double that of the 216 in 2019, largely due to more Singaporeans stepping up to volunteer their time and effort amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli at the virtual ceremony.
"The public-spiritedness and generosity of our people are especially important as we are in a defining crisis for this generation and beyond," he added.
Addressing the award recipients, Mr Masagos said: "You exemplify what it means to be a caring society, and show us how we can achieve much more together."