From over 500 nominations, 30 exceptional volunteers and 3 outstanding groups of volunteers have been shortlisted for this year’s Volunteer Ireland Awards including George and Mary Sugrue from Kerry. 2017 marks an extremely special year for the Volunteer Ireland Awards. Not only are they celebrating their tenth year, they will also form part of the prestigious closing ceremony of Sligo’s designation as European Volunteering Capital.
The awards aim to celebrate the extraordinary dedication that nominees have shown to help others, often taking time away from family and friends to give back. From those new to Ireland, husband and wife duos and local community stalwarts, we are lucky enough to have so many exceptional volunteers in Ireland. George and Mary, from Tralee, are one such example:
George and Mary have been volunteering with Chernobyl Children International for over 20 years. Through their advocacy and hard work they founded and single-handedly run the Chernobyl Children International Dental Programme. Each year they drive over 3,000kms to provide high standard dental care to children who have been abandoned to Children’s Mental Asylums. This year, they have expanded their programme with a mobile dental unit which is used to treat terminally ill children on CCI’s Hospice and Palliative Care Programme reaching almost 200 children with life-limiting illnesses. 2017 marked their 21st and 19th convoy respectively that they have been involved with for CCI.
Commenting on the shortlist for the Volunteer Ireland Awards, Kerry Volunteer Centre Manager Geraldine O’Sullivan said “Thousands of people across the country volunteer each day, giving their time without asking for anything in return. This year’s shortlist really captures the breadth and variety of volunteering that takes place throughout Ireland – often going unnoticed. We are particularly lucky in Kerry to have exceptional volunteers like George and Mary who help our community thrive. The awards allow us to really celebrate and showcase everything that these volunteers do but most of all they give us an opportunity to say thank you.”
For more information on the Volunteer Ireland Awards 2017 or to read the inspiring stories of the shortlisted volunteers, see the attached document or visit www.volunteer.ie