In early January this year, 36-year old Eparama Ravulo saw an advertisement for the Basic Recruitment Course for the Fiji Corrections Service in the Fiji Sun newspaper.
What followed were days of decision making that would set a new course in his life forever.
Even at his age, Ravulo was determined to make an impact and invest in a career that would recognize his talents. So he decided to apply.
He left his work at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport to join the Fiji Corrections Service Basic Recruitment Course.
This decision was supported by his late father who passed away the day after he joined the course.
“He gave me the confidence to leave my work and chase my dreams of joining a disciplined force even though late in my life. He died just a day after I was accepted into the program,’’ Ravulo told reporters during the passing out parade on November
Fourteen weeks later, the Cakaudrove man from Vanua Levu graduated top of the class of 60 new recruits and attained not one but two honours in his name.
The recipient of the Baton of Honour and the Commissioner’s Trophy, saluted his late father Jone Ravulo after he received his trophies. The other award recipient was Sakiusa Matavola who took out the Best in Drill award.
“I salute him for his advice when I left our home at Tacirua. I wish he was here today,” he told reporters after the cadet passing-out parade at Naboro on May 1.
“I’ll never regret my decision, and will continue to work hard and look after my family,” he said.
The 14 weeks of training, he said, was tough, but he had learned a lot and met young men and women who have become like family.
A teary eyed Mum, Arieta Ravulo, 59, was equally proud of her son’s achievement and had only one wish during the whole ceremony.
“I only wish his father was alive to see him today. His last words to Eparama was to be the master of his own ship, steer his own course and never lose sight of his faith in God.”
Commissioner of Corrections Commander Francis Kean reminded the 60 new recruits to always remember those who have made sacrifices so that they were able to attend the 14-week training course.
“Never forget those who sacrificed a lot so that you were able to attend this training process, it is through their sacrifices that you had the peace of mind and drive to achieve things during your training.
“I congratulate you all for passing out today, it has not been easy so I congratulate you all for your determination and courage to complete this grueling training process.”
“This is training that will prepare you for the noble task of being rehabilitation officers, which is not an easy task and is one that will test your faith and the training you have received here.”
Commander Kean reminded the new recruits of the values of the Fiji Corrections Services which was Family, Integrity, Loyalty, Honesty, Empathy and Leadership.
“From here you enter the real working world of rehabilitation which will challenge you physically, mentally and spiritually – you must be ready to tackle these challenges and help restore lives of those who have fallen outside of the Law.”