Love what you do and never give up.
This is the advice of National Award recipients Brigadier Carlton Alfonso and businessman Peter Elias.
In a telephone interview yesterday Alfonso who received the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) at the National Awards function on Independence Day said he was elated and humbled by receiving the medal.
"When I joined the army many moons ago, 1963 to be exact, there was no thought of receiving any award for anything that I did. I just did it out of love for the military and that is where I spent half of my life — 36 years and eight months, so I am very pleased that the government has seen it fit to make this award to me."
Alfonso's advice to those in the military, is that they should not go into it because they are looking for a job or looking to make money.
"Don't do that. Find something that you love. In my case I loved the military it didn't matter how much they paid me, I was very passionate about what I did. So my advice to them would be love what you do, do it well and enjoy your profession whatever that profession might be," he added.
Elias who received the Humming-bird Medal (Silver) told the Express that he felt "really humbled and really happy" by the award.
"Humbled because I never was conscious or gave much thought of receiving an award, but having received the call I felt really proud not just for me but for everybody, like my family who have given me support over the years.
"All the people I have worked with along the way it makes you recognise that you are part of a bigger thing it is not me alone but I am one of many."
Looking back on his life and the struggles he has been through where he first started his career in fashion Elias said "I remember in my youth struggling, thinking that I would fail, when I owed the bank more than I ever thought I would be able to repay.
"I still remember those dark days feeling like nothing I ever did would succeed, and with my mom's love and just being committed and never giving up, thank God with time everything worked out.
"The best advice I could give to anyone is never give up. Stay the course, keep focused. I think that's one on my best lessons I have learnt on my own," he said.