2012 Volunteer Ireland Awards, Education and Training (2008 - 2015)

Tomás Connaughton, Civil Defence

Ballinasloe, Galway, Category Winner

Tomás is an established Ambulance officer in the HSE, when not working he spends his time dedicated to teaching people in civil defence and in the community from the age of 16 and above. Tomás organises various exercises to help with team building and to encourage weaker participants to come out of their shells and develop skills and attitudes, which are life long skills. He is very well known throughout the national organisation and has helped many other organisations down through the years with training, education and building confidence among volunteers.

Tom's guidance and leadership helped over 60 members of the Civil Defence maintain safety when Ballinasloe was flooded in 2009 and during the big freeze in 2010. Tomás has trained 100s of EMTs and has encouraged and assisted many people to follow careers as paramedics, gardai and members of the fire brigade. Outside of the organisation Tom is known for helping people further, offering Maths grinds to those struggling, taking learner drivers out for road trips to practice driving. 

Mark Callanan nominated Tom for a Volunteer Ireland Award, Mark said ‘Tom is the greatest person I know. Not only does he work as a full time advanced paramedic and officer in the HSE, he also somehow finds the time to spend countless hours training thirty plus members of Ballinasloe Civil Defence and covering various duties. He's the reason myself and many others wish to become paramedics, both currently training and in future, and he's also volunteered himself to help with members studying towards a wide range of healthcare related exams. He's changed my life and continues to do so for many others! I can’t think of anyone more suited for this award!”

Photography by Gavin Kelly