There aren’t many people in our society who command quite as much respect and appreciation as the heroes who serve in our military. Which makes sense, because it takes a particular brand of courage, integrity and loyalty to assume the role of protecting our shores.
We know this, but do you know someone else who does? The Queen. Last month, she bestowed highly-coveted state honours upon 111 defence personnel for their work in the military, Ministry of Defence and other aspects of UK Defence.
One award we feel was particularly befitting was the one received by our very own SSgt Sohail Ashraf, a Muslim man and AFMA member from Leicestershire. He was honoured for his outstanding contribution to improving community relations and understanding between BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities and the Army.
Since back in 2014, he’s been serving as a careers advisor in the Leicester Army Careers Centre. His personal impact upon improving the local BAME community’s understanding of the British Army and in breaking down community barriers – whilst fostering a regional dialogue of mutual understanding, diversity, inclusion and opportunity – has been nothing short of exceptional. He’s been at the vanguard of the drive to ensure the correct representation of BAME in the Army is observed, something we all have a vested interest in.
SSgt Ashraf’s selfless commitment, resolve and modesty has gained him enormous respect across the whole recruiting operation. He’s consistently breaking new ground due to his application of intelligence, compassion and tremendous judgement. He is relentless in his pursuit of success, with no expectation for recognition or reward other than to improve the manning of the Army. It’s due to his public service, unwavering loyalty and unparalleled dedication, that this exceptional soldier has been rewarded by the state. We couldn’t think of a more fitting candidate.
“Our Armed Forces work tirelessly to keep this country safe and I’m delighted for those who have been recognised today,” Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said on the day SSgt Ashraf received his award. “Their commitment and service to our nation has helped ensure that Britain remains ready to face intensifying threats at home and abroad.”
To see the honours list in full, click here.