Dunlavin Native Wins National Volunteer Award

Dunlavin local John Fitzgerald was named a winner in the Safety and Emergency Services category in the National Volunteer Ireland Awards for his commitment to CFR Ireland and Wicklow Rapid Response.

A Community First Responder (CFR) volunteer for over 20 years in his native county Wicklow, John epitomises everything that is good about community volunteers. Working on a local level and witnessing the positivity of his and his colleagues’ work, John decided to make their learning known on a national level and support other likeminded volunteers wherever possible. 

John set about developing a national representative organisation ‘CFR Ireland’ to increase awareness of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and work closely with the National Ambulance Service to increase the number of CFR Groups across Ireland.

According Wicklow Volunteer Centre Manager Leah Kinsella “We are lucky to have people like John volunteering in Wicklow. Volunteers are often unseen but the contribution they make to Irish society is immense. These awards give us a chance to say thank you and celebrate the difference volunteers make every day.”

Arthur and Deborah Carr were named Christine Buckley Volunteer of the Year for their outstanding commitment to supporting those in crisis in Galway. 

Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development and Charities, added “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all the winners of the Volunteer Ireland 2020 Awards, which are supported by my Department. After what has been a very challenging year for us all, it is all the more important to thank those volunteers who have gone the extra mile to support the most vulnerable in our communities. In addition to the winners, I would also like to thank Volunteer Ireland for their work to support and champion volunteering around the country.” 

As a physical event was not possible this year each awardee received a special surprise delivery from Volunteer Ireland announcing their win. It included an engraved trophy, a framed message from President Higgins, complimentary tickets to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and of course, a hamper of goodies to celebrate with. All 805 volunteers nominated in this year’s awards also received a special thank you card from Volunteer Ireland earlier this month.

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