Banquet celebrates couple’s generosity

A banquet to celebrate the awarding of the Samoa Emergency Fire and the Police (S.E.F.P.) 2019 Scholarships and Grant Awards was held at Travellers Point, Malifa, on Tuesday night.

During the event, awards were presented to children of Fire and Emergency Services Authority workers and Police officers, commonly referred to as Samoa’s first responders to emergencies.

Awardees for primary school level received $100 each; college level received $375 each while one award for tertiary level received $1,250.

There were other awards. The Parent Award of $500 was received by Laupama Maiava while Ence Homes Honorary Award of $1,000 went to Fa’afouina Junior Mupo.

The last award of the night was the Sione Heleti Vuki Legacy Awards worth US$200 each. Five first responders were drawn out randomly as recipients.

Spokesperson for the S.E.F.P. 2019 Samoa Committee, Nanai Taofiga Tuiletufuga, said the initiative by Faalogo Sissy Vuki and her husband Tupuola Heleti Vuki, of St. George Utah, costs a total $35,000.

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 “The focus for the whole initiative is because 911 is about saving lives and that’s what Fa’alogo and her husband are also aiming to do,” he said.

“Last year they donated $15,000 to help the 911 national call center. They offered the scholarships and went back to do their own fund raising and collected donations.”

“And for this round, they donated $10,500 to the 911 call center, gave out monetary grants to 20 ‘first responder’ parents to help with expenses and also funded the backpacks.”

One of the recipients, Enleyva G. Maiava, is extremely grateful.

 “I thank God for this opportunity. Our dad told us to start with our essays for this thing, so we tried out best to get an award.”

“We know our dad works so hard to provide for us and given the nature of his work, it’s a matter of life and death, so we really tried hard for this and I’m so glad it paid off.”

The next step for S.E.F.P.2019 is to offer five university scholarships to children of first responders.

“Fa’alogo, who is an alumnus of Texas State University back in St. George Utah, is negotiating with the University for five scholarships,” said Mr. Tuiletufuga.

“The scholarships will cover tuition, room and board and university will also help with visa applications for successful applicants. It is still up in the air but it’s the next phase that this entire project is looking into.”

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