Meet The Team: The man behind the mask

22 July 2021

A handful of Global Sir James Gildea Awards are awarded to SSAFA volunteers each year, and we are delighted that Wiltshire’s Sam Brown has been so honoured this year for his “positive impact on clients and exceptional partnership work across the local area”.

Sam first volunteered as a caseworker, and though he has undertaken other roles in SSAFA Wiltshire, it is casework that is closest to his heart.  “Every case is different, and the buzz I get from helping someone turn their life around is ample reward for the effort involved in dealing with ever more complex cases.”

After a career in the Royal Engineers, including the Falklands War, and four years commanding a TA regiment, Sam enjoyed a career as a Chartered Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, working in Power Plant Engineering.  Now retired, Sam joined our Salisbury Division in 2012, but soon added Branch Training Officer duties to his casework.  He also stepped into the breach as Branch Secretary – a vital administrative role – when the incumbent suddenly stepped down.

But it was casework that remained his main focus, and Sam would encourage anyone thinking of volunteering with SSAFA to go for it.  “The buzz when I am able to solve beneficiaries’ problems and know their lives will be better as a result is a great feeling.”  When asked what he finds most enjoyable about volunteering with SSAFA, Sam didn’t hesitate: “the camaraderie, organised and truly non-judgemental approach.” 

SSAFA is increasingly seeing mental health as an issue with both beneficiaries and their families, and not just PTSD.  That can make things even more challenging, but – like all our caseworkers – Sam finds that just knowing somebody is “on their side” can make a great difference to clients.  Debt often plays a part, and Sam volunteered with Citizens Advice in order to better understand the benefits system, and was instrumental in implementing an agreement between SSAFA Wiltshire and Citizens Advice Wiltshire which gives clients access to expert financial advice.

“Helping veterans, that’s what means the world to me, and when someone I’ve helped writes to thank me it’s a wonderful feeling.” 

If you would like to know more about volunteering with SSAFA, please see our main page for current roles and to get in touch.

Please feel free to call our Forcesline if you need any support.

0800 260 6767

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