The role handicapped people play in the military has been recognised by 2 Signal Regiment, with the presentation of special certificates to three blind members.
It is the first time in the 100 year plus history of the South African Army that blind members of a unit or regiment have been honoured in this way.
Colonel Loy de Jager, the regiment’s Officer Commanding, is the man who came up with the idea of honouring Beverly Wiid of Defence Signal Unit, Rozelle Smit of Gauteng Signal Unit and Johan Schroeder of Minister of Defence Signal Unit. All are switchboard operators based at Signal Formation headquarters at Wonderboom, north of Pretoria.
In addition to his gold certificate for excellent work, the same as that presented to Wiid and Smit, Schroeder was honoured with a second gold certificate, this one for sporting achievement.
Schroeder is the first and, to date, only blind person (Classification B1) to score a century in T20 Blind cricket. He achieved this milestone, scoring 112 runs, against Sri Lanka in the first ever blind T20 Cricket World Cup in Bangalore, India, last December.
The certificates were first printed and, with the assistance of Blind SA Braille Services, overprinted in braille enabling the recipients to read what they have achieved and been rewarded for.
The certificates were presented to the three by Lieutenant Colonel Barney le Roux, second in command of 2 Signal Regiment.
There are another six blind Signal Formation members who will be similarly rewarded for the dedication to duty in the near future. The six are based at units outside Gauteng and arrangements are in place for presentation functions.
Picture: Major Lizette Lombard