THE second West Cork Hero Awards gala ceremony will take place in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, on Friday afternoon, February 23rd, honouring those who epitomise community spirit in West Cork.
Special guest will be Brother Kevin Crowley OFM Cap, founder and director of the Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin, where thousands of meals, food parcels and other services are provided to the homeless and under-privileged every week. Brother Kevin hails from Kilcolman near Enniskeane originally.
The awards, organised by The Southern Star and the Celtic Ross Hotel, were set up in 2016 to honour those people in West Cork who go above and beyond the call of duty to help and improve the lives of others.
A total of 12 monthly nominees has been selected by a panel of judges, from nominations sent in by readers of The Southern Star. The overall West Cork Hero 2017 award will be presented at the ceremony on the 23rd.
The judges would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who took the time to nominate their ‘heroes’ throughout the year.
Meet the candidates
Brendan O’Brien, Skibbereen
Brendan had a very serious illness as a child and survived after being in a coma. He has been employed in Field’s SuperValu in Skibbereen for the last 14 years and is helpful, caring and friendly and is a very popular member of staff with both colleagues and customers alike. Brendan is an example to anyone with special needs as he has succeeded in overcoming his own personal adversity to provide valuable service to his community and in so doing contributes in a positive way to the lives of all around him.
Tommy Jermyn, Goleen
Tommy is a fantastic community man who gives so much of his time to Goleen and the surrounding communities. He co-ordinates Meals on Wheels, delivers gas and supplies to the elderly during the winter and drives the community bus. Tommy is also very involved with the Mizen Community Safety Project. This group is very active in the areas of farm safety and crime prevention, and has provided iPads and the relevant training for older members of the community, providing these people with a valuable link to family members who have moved away from the area or indeed the country.
Michael Sugrue, Bantry
Michael Sugrue is a widower in his 80s and has lived in Bantry all his life. A neighbour of his who has MS and is a wheelchair user needs extra care and home help support for himself and his wife. Michael has taken it upon himself to look after the neighbours’ needs. Michael even took the extraordinary step of moving from his own house and into a spare bedroom in his neighbour’s home temporarily so that he could attend to their ongoing needs, both night and day. Michael is not an official carer and is doing all of this in the spirit of altruism and just wanting to be a good neighbour.
Tar Isteach Charity Shop, Dunmanway
Tar Isteach Charity Shop (represented by Rose Kelly, pictured) was established in Dunmanway just over eight years ago. Since then, the dedicated volunteers in the shop have raised a substantial amount of money, which has been distributed back into the local community to the benefit of local sporting groups, youth groups, hospitals, schools and it has even been used to alleviate travel costs for a family with a child in Crumlin Children’s Hospital in Dublin. The volunteers involved in Tar Isteach give selflessly of their time and the shop is symbolic of the welcoming, inclusive, non-judgmental ethos of this endeavour.
Edward McSweeney, Timoleague
Edward McSweeney from Timoleague has been heavily involved in his local GAA club, as a mentor and as player, over the years. He is a local historian, dedicated to preserving and highlighting the rich heritage of his local area. He is involved in the local Tidy Towns committee, which has done Trojan work in getting Timoleague looking its best and those efforts have been rewarded on a number of occasions. Edward contributes the local Timoleague notes to The Southern Star, and so helps to actively record all the important occurences in the area.
David Ross, Drimoleague
David Ross has been active in the community of Drimoleague since 1983. He founded Bantry Christian Fellowship church in 2004. He served on the board of the Friends of Bantry General Hospital from 2005 to 2010. He is a founder of the Sheep’s Head and Bantry Tourism Co-op and was instrumental in setting up Drimoleague Heritage Walkways. In 2013 he and his wife Elizabeth established the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre – now a major tourist attraction in the area, at a time when many small communities in rural Ireland are in decline. His Farmhands scheme educates young people about farming, food, biodiversity and the natural environment.
Liz O’Regan (representing Clonakilty Daffodil Day fundraisers)
Liz O’Regan (right of pic), represents a group of volunteers that has co-ordinated the Irish Cancer Society’s Annual Daffodil Day in Clonakilty for a long number of years. Liz, along with Therese Hayes (also pictured), Jerome O’Sullivan and Dave Daly, all have their own reasons for getting involved with this particular charity, and thanks to their tireless efforts, they have raised hundreds of thousands of euro for the Irish Cancer Society.
Sharon Jermyn, Schull
Sharon was nominated for her work as a full-time carer for her mother who has MS. She also cared for her grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s, up until the time of her death. Even during periods when her mother is hospitalised and away from her home, Sharon chooses to stay with her to help and look after her. Sharon’s kind nature also sees her finding the time, despite all that she already has to do as a carer, to help out her neighbours and friends in their times of need. She sees it as totally normal to give completely of her time and energy to help those around her.
Andrew was nominated for his work in the area of mental health at Dromleigh Resource Centre near Bantry. He is a therapeutic gardener and he is described as ‘outstanding’ in helping and motivating people with mental health issues. He does a lot above and beyond the call of duty and in a fast-paced world where problems such as bereavement, loneliness and rural isolation are widespread, often it is a person, like Andrew, who takes time to listen, to help and even to just have a kind word who can make a difference in someone’s day.
Charles Henderson, Kinsale
Charles worked as town foreman for over 40 years and also served as an elected representative and mayor of Kinsale TC. He has worked with the local Tidy Towns for over 40 years and with Kinsale Regatta for over 50 years. He has served with the harbour commissioners, gave 26 years with the Fire Brigade, has served on the boards of three local schools, has given 40 years to the Credit Union, is a peace commissioner, a minister of the eucharist, and was in the FCA for 21 years. He has also been involved with various other committees and festivals. and was instrumental in the starting up of Kinsale Community Care.
Linda Shannon, Skibbereen
Linda is chairperson of Skibbereen Geriatric Society and along with all the volunteers involved in that organisation, devotes huge amounts of time and energy to helping older adults in the community. She makes a real difference in their lives by delivering meals on wheels, serving and helping in the luncheon club, organising various aspects of the 32 flats in Skibbereen for older adults and she organises and goes on home visits to anyone who is feeling lonely or isolated.
Liam F O’Regan, Skibbereen
Liam is well known in Skibbereen and beyond for his work with the Civil Defence over the past 35 years. In that time he has been involved in numerous search, rescue and recovery operations, has assisted during times of flooding and been on hand to help at all sorts of community events and emergencies. For over 20 years Liam has travelled to Lourdes every June, assisting and caring for pilgrims who are too sick or infirm to travel unaided. For 13 years Liam assisted in bringing Chernobyl Children to West Cork for much needed respite. Over the years he has contributed his time and efforts to countless fundraising and charity endeavours.