A BANDON postman – who went out of his way to help those cocooning during Covid-19 by delivering newspapers and groceries while off duty – has spoken of his surprise when he was informed that he was the winner of a Front Line Hero 2020 Award.
Pa O’Brien from Mishells told The Southern Star that he was at home on Friday June 19th when local councillor Sean O’Donovan – who organised the award – turned up at his home to tell him the good news.
‘He told me that people had nominated me for the Front Line Hero award and that I came out top of all the nominations and I had no idea that I was nominated,’ said Pa.
‘I was very surprised and shocked. My wife Mary knew about it alright and told me to go out to greet Sean when he arrived outside the house with balloons and flowers for herself.’ The father of two – who is very modest about it – said all he did was a few favours for people during Covid-19, like delivering newspapers to people during the weekends and bank holidays.
‘It was just a normal thing to do, I guess, but it is lovely to be recognised and this award is a real shock for me.’
Cllr O’Donovan said they were delighted to get 220 nominations when they put out the call in April, asking people to give their reasons for their nominations.
This was reduced down to 20 contenders and then a panel, including broadcaster Bibi Baskin, John Paul McNamara of c103, Jacinta Warren of Warren Allen Collections and Cllr O’Donovan got to pick their top two out of the 20. This was then bought down to five and Pa became the eventual winner.
‘Pa got several nominations from people through his work as a postman, but also for the errands he did at the weekend when he wasn’t working. He was ringing people in the evenings, too, if he hadn’t in some cases met them on his deliveries earlier in the day,’ said Cllr O’Donovan.
‘He was 24 hours at it really as he was going back and forth checking on people if he had no contact with individuals.’
Pa and Mary will now get to enjoy a well-earned break in a luxury suite in Crosshaven House for two nights with bed and breakfast.