We’re proud and delighted that Aghia Pal Singh, a member of our staff, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2019.
Aghia (59), who’s from Walsall and has worked as an infrastructure engineer in our ICT department for 22 years, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
The honour recognises his services to the communities of the West Midlands and his voluntary work in the UK and abroad.
Aghia, who’s married and has a daughter and two sons, said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be awarded the MBE. I read the letter in disbelief and was overcome with emotion. I’m very grateful to whoever put me forward.
“Working for West Midlands Fire Service has given me the opportunity to give something to the community – be that at work, through volunteering with the UK International Search and Rescue Team or via the various charity projects with which I’m involved.
“As a Sikh I have tried, over the years, to put back into the community. Sikhism teaches that people should try to become less self-centred and live their lives in the selfless service of others.
“All I wanted to do was make a difference in people’s lives. I’m very humbled.”
Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach said: “Aghia’s MBE is worthy recognition indeed. He is quiet, unassuming and professional and his contribution to the community is understated.
“He is passionate about the work he does for those who are less fortunate, and dedicated to promoting equality and awareness of other cultures.”
Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “We’re grateful for all that Aghia continues to do, not least his work building strong links between West Midlands Fire Service and the Sikh community. He is a tremendous advocate for the service, its work and its career opportunities.”
Aghia is one of a group of WMFS staff who volunteer their skills and expertise as members of UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR). On behalf of the UK Government they have been deployed on several occasions to disasters around the world.
Aghia is particularly proud of the links he has helped to foster with the Matumaini Orphanage in Tanzania, which he and WMFS colleagues have visited several times to help improve its facilities.
He said: “The children have given us more than we could ever give them, in just teaching us to be happy however hard life might be. Even though they have very little, they always had a smile on their face.
“I understand that the honours system exists to thank recipients for their services to the community, but also to encourage others to do the same. I hope my award has that effect on my family, friends and others who know me.”