Inishowen flood relief campaigner Declan Houton, organiser of the ‘Homes for Donegal’ fundraising campaign, has claimed the prestigious ‘Person of the Year’ Award at the Golden Bridges Awards Luncheon in Boston this week.
The Glengad native collected the award at the Seaport Hotel and he paid tribute to the Inishowen diaspora to worked together to raise close to $120,000 for the Red Cross in Buncrana.
Speaking as he collected his award, Mr. Houton said: “Thanks to everyone involved in the Golden Bridges for this award, which I accept on behalf of a large group of people here in Boston who came together to help those affected by the floods at home in Donegal.
“A few days after the floods, a group of people from Donegal, friends of ours from Derry, Dublin and friends of ours here in Boston, came together to begin planning a fundraiser.
“Within a few weeks, we were able to get $40,000 sent home and last Tuesday, a second installment of $74,000 was sent home to the Red Cross in Buncrana.
“We are hoping, that by the time all is said and done, that close to $120,000 will have been raised by Boston’s Irish community.
“I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who helped in this drive and to the Red Cross at home who are doing tremendous work on a voluntary basis.
“Lastly for me, it’s an honour to be part of such a strong Irish community here in America’s most Irish city, Boston.”
The Awards were part of the Golden Bridges Conference, the climax of the joint Derry/Strabane Donegal trade mission to Boston and seek to honour those forging transatlantic partnerships between Ireland and the U.S.
Speaking at the event, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh said: “The Golden Bridges awards were a fitting climax to our week long trip in Boston and a great way to honour the dynamic relationships being forged in the various community, business, education, arts and culture initiatives in Ireland and the U.S.
“I was particularly pleased for the local winners among the honourees who have carried out tireless work to improve the lives of people on both sides of the Atlantic and maintain the close ties between our regions.