The annual Soldiering On Awards has been unparalleled in affording members of the Armed Forces community a crucial space for reconnecting with likeminded, familiar faces, while also offering opportunities for new connections.
By sharing stories and recognising achievement, the event reminds us every year of our common goals. To quote the touching words of Mark Harding, the winner of the 2023 Inspiration Award:
“It’s never about the awards; it’s all about the people.”
On his 2010 operation in Afghanistan, Mark was shot by a Taliban sniper, resulting in years of intensive treatment and rehabilitation. Since recovering from paralysis to mobility, Mark has not only been an inspiring ambassador, but also a fundraiser devoted to the Armed Forces and local communities – not least Army Benevolent Fund who nominated Mark for Soldiering On Awards recognition.
By sharing stories of struggle, recovery, and accomplishment, we can not only expand our understandings of how to handle adversity in our own lives, but also nurture empathy beyond our immediate personal experiences. This is valuable at both the personal and community levels: connection across communities can empower and give voice to those who feel their stories would otherwise go untold.
Enabling individuals and communities to support themselves through enterprise lies at the core of our values; stories shared by the Soldiering On Awards serve as a reminder of why our initiatives are so crucial. Crimsham Farm CIC, 2023 winners of the Business Community Impact Award, have exemplified the importance of giving voice to those who may feel marginalised by mainstream models of education – something extremely important to us.
We could go on forever with so many examples from finalists and winners, not only from 2023 but from years previous. However, nominations are open for the 2024 Soldiering On Awards, so now is the time to ask, who do you know that deserves national recognition for their commitment to the Armed Forces community?
Tell their story by nominating here https://bit.ly/soa24