On May 6 Clonakilty man John Joe Lyons was named as the 2017 Irish Red Cross Volunteer of The Year on Saturday whilst 13-year-old Duncan Rose received the Irish Red Cross Young Volunteer of The Year Award. John Joe and Duncan were presented with their awards for their dedication to volunteering in their local communities by the Minister of Defence Paul Kehoe TD. The award ceremony in Croke Park, Dublin, kicked off celebrations for World Red Cross Red Crescent Day 2017, held each year on May 8 to celebrate the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent globally and locally.
A volunteer with the Irish Red Cross for more than 40 Years, John Joe has worked tirelessly in his local community. In the early hours of the morning in June 2012, Cork was hit by flash flooding. Despite his own home in Clonakilty being flooded, John Joe’s focus was on the needs of his community and he had a team of 20 Irish Red Cross volunteers scrambled by 4am. At 11.30pm the next night, John Joe was still on the streets of the town ensuring that residents had enough food, water and clean linen, whilst also helping those worse affected with the cleanup.
Duncan Rose, also of Clonakilty, has spearheaded activities in support of local causes. In 2016, Duncan and his fellow Irish Red Cross Youth members organised an advent collection for Cork Penny Dinners. During the collection, Duncan took it upon himself to contact family, friends and members of the public to gather the food and equipment needed. Duncan was also involved in setting up a water station for runners of the Cork Marathon; Duncan was to the fore that day when a runner became unwell and didn’t hesitate at putting his recently learnt first aid skills into use.
Addressing the gathered volunteers, Minister Kehoe said he has “absolute admiration for people who give up their time for others”. Minister Kehoe went on to say that it is a “sign of a healthy and vibrant organisation that so many young people willingly give up their spare time when there are so many other distractions”.
The annual Irish Red Cross National Volunteer Awards shine a light on the work of Irish Red Cross volunteers around the country by celebrating their contribution to society. There are nine categories of awards reflecting the variety of humanitarian services fulfilled by Irish Red Cross volunteers, including a Youth Achievement award and Health and Social Care award.
Speaking at the ceremony, which was presented by TV3’s Deric Ó hÁrtagain, Ted Noonan, Chair of Irish Red Cross Volunteer Development, said, “Irish Red Cross volunteers, like John Joe and Duncan, are working in virtually every Irish community, giving their commitment, energy and time,”
“The National Volunteer Awards and World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day are opportunities to recognise the contribution and achievements of the thousands of volunteers around Ireland and millions worldwide who are keeping our communities safe and making them more resilient,” said Mr Noonan.