Bantry man Michael Sugrue was named overall West Cork Hero for 2017, at a ceremony that honoured ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’ in West Cork
Over 120 guests, 12-monthly award winners, a judges’ choice winner and a very special guest gathered in the Celtic Ross Hotel, February 23rd for the second West Cork Hero Awards gala celebration.
The awards were set up in early 2016 by The Southern Star and the Celtic Ross Hotel to give recognition to ‘ordinary people doing extraordinary things’ – those throughout West Cork who give selflessly of their time and efforts to help and improve the lives of those around them.
From all walks of life, the monthly winners were chosen by a panel of judges, from a huge number of nominees put forward by readers of The Southern Star throughout 2017.
Guest of honour and Enniskeane native Brother Kevin Crowley ofm cap, of the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin, presented the overall award of West Cork Hero 2017 to Michael Sugrue from Bantry in recognition of the extraordinary work he has been doing, over a number of years, for nearby neighbours of his who are in poor health. Michael, himself in his 80s, runs errands, does the shopping, negotiates wheelchairs and even stays in his neighbours’ house at night so he can be on hand to help.
In his speech, Br Kevin thanked the Celtic Ross and The Southern Star for inviting him to the event, and speaking directly to the award winners he thanked them for ‘the great and marvellous work that they do’ and expressed his delight at being in the presence of ‘people who have given so much time to volunteering and helping those in need. You are not selfish with your lives and you give willingly to help your neighbours. You are fantastic in what you do … may God thank you and give you grace to continue and reward you in Heaven.’
Br Kevin went on to describe how important volunteerism and community spirit is in terms of running the Capuchin Day Centre, where in excess of 800 meals are provided each day, six days a week, for the homeless and needy in Dublin. The centre also provides a range of vital services including opticians, doctors’ clinics, dentistry, counselling and advice services and caters specially for homeless families and children. Br Kevin made the point that the centre receives €450,000 in Government aid, but its running costs amount to in excess of €3.3m. The centre does not fundraise, and all of the funding shortfall is made up through donations and the generosity of the public.
Innishannon farmer Donal Kiely received a special Judges’ Choice Award in recognition of his work to help his neighbours during the widespread power outages during Storm Ophelia, when he acquired a generator, assembled an impromptu team and oversaw the milking of 1,200 cattle on nine farms in 48 hours. Donal accepted the award ‘on behalf of all farmers in West Cork’ and he paid tribute to those who helped him during the storm.
• Monthly nominations are now being accepted for the West Cork Hero Awards 2018. Nomination forms will appear regularly throughout the year in The Southern Star. See page 27.