A young volunteer with the Muff branch of the Irish Red Cross has won the Young Volunteer of the Year at a ceremony in Croke Park.
Twelve-year-old Sarah McConnellogue was honoured for her tireless work with the branch and her top recruiting skills.
She was presented with the award in Dublin by the chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, Alan Farrell TD.
There was also further success for the Muff branch when Caoimhe McLaughlin won the award for Irish Red Cross Youth Achievement of the Year.
Sarah has been a member of the Muff branch for three years.
She has completed numerous programmes, including first aid training, and she competes in all Branch first aid training and competitions.
Sarah is said to have an ‘impeccable attendance record’ at the branch and has not missed a training night in the last two years.
She is always first to volunteer when the branch is helping out at community events and is the first name on the list to attend all youth events.
However, Sarah’s greatest talent may be her role as a recruitment aficionado; Muff Branch currently has 19 youth members who are in Sarah’s school class.
Sarah was described by those who nominated her as “an enthusiastic, committed volunteer who shows a willingness to learn and develop new skills - she and is a true humanitarian.”
It was also noted by her nominators that Sarah has a smile for everyone she meets and befriends new members, ensuring everyone is involved and happy.
Sarah is eagerly looking forward to progressing as a member and delivering first aid training, as well as becoming a youth leader.
Addressing the gathered volunteers at Croke Park, chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, Alan Farrell TD said: “Volunteers within the Irish Red Cross act as an inspiration to us all through their commitment to helping local communities, providing humanitarian aid in times of need, and assisting the most vulnerable people, both at home and abroad.”
He added: “The selfless nature with which they carry out their work showcases their commitment to helping others and working to make our world a better place, as we all most notably saw by the Irish Red Cross’ response during our recent weather emergencies, including storms Emma, Eleanor, Brian and Ophelia.
“As Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, and a former member of the Oireachtas Justice, Equality and Defence Committee, I have always been impressed and inspired by the dedication of Irish Red Cross volunteers and I wish to express my sincere gratitude to every single member of the organisation across Ireland for their commitment to helping others.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, Ted Noonan, Chair of Irish Red Cross Volunteer Development said: “The Irish Red Cross’ mission is to identify and deliver impartial humanitarian assistance to those who are most in need, offering hope to vulnerable communities - both at home and abroad, and this spirit is exactly what our volunteers in Ireland embody in their work every week.
“Irish Red Cross volunteers like Padraig and Sarah keep our communities safe and make them more resilient. Today is a great occasion to acknowledge their efforts and to recognise those who have particularly excelled in their field in the last year.”
The Irish Red Cross National Volunteer Award kicked off the celebrations for World Red Cross Red Crescent Day which is held each year on 8 May to celebrate the work of the Red Cross and Red Crescent globally and locally.
Donegal did well at the event, as the county was also named as Area of the Year.
Other winners on the day were: Irish Red Cross Volunteer of the Year: Padraig O’Reilly, Clonakilty, Co Cork; Irish Red Cross Instructor of the Year: Rose Ward, Claremorris, Co Mayo; Irish Red Cross Health & Social Care Officer of the Year: Antoinette Coffey, Dungarvan, Co Waterford; Irish Red Cross Unit Member of the Year: Paddy Redmond, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford; Irish Red Cross Special Status of the Year: Cloverhill Prison; Irish Red Cross Branch of the Year; Roscrea, Co Tipperary; Irish Red Cross Area of the Year: Donegal.