Volunteer Manager

Andy Cullen

Husky Rescue Ireland, Laois

Andy has always had a love of dogs, with a particular interest in snow breeds.  In 2014 he became involved in rescuing huskies due to the increase of them being surrendered to the pounds and neglected in Ireland.  As a result he set up Husky Rescue Ireland (HRI) with the aim of alleviating the suffering caused to huskies by irresponsible ownership, abuse and neglect in Ireland. Since starting up the rescue in 2014 Andy is responsible for leading a strong team of volunteers to rehome over 800 Huskies in Ireland, Sweden and Germany giving them a second chance with a loving family.

Andy works tirelessly to support the volunteers at Husky Rescue Ireland in any way possible.  He trains all volunteers who come to the centre on all issues regarding Health & Safety to interacting with the dogs.  At all times Andy ensures to keep all volunteers safe and makes their experience of volunteering as enjoyable as possible.  Andy is also a friend to all the volunteers and is sensitive to their needs and always willing to lend a listening ear to those who need it.  He is extremly patient with everyone who comes to the centre and gives them as much time as they need for training, constantly encouraging and motivating them.

Andy is always looking for creative and innovative ways in his role of mangaging the volunteers from implementing new systems to make the work easier and safer, to recognising the work of the volunteers by awarding certificates recognising their work and always ensuring that friendships are formed and everyone that volunteers feels appreciated, valued and enjoys their time spent with the rescue.

Gerry Maguire

Reserve Defence Forces, Laois

Gerry is the voluntary Executive Office of the Reserve Defence Forces, with oversight of the Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve. As EO he has worked tirelessly, to sustain and develop the organsiation.  He has demonstrated exceptional energy and zeal, transforming the Reserve into a 21st century organisation which supports the  personal and professional development of young people nationwide, also contributing to the Defence Forces.

He has always projected personality and character to motivate volunteers. He promotes a positive sense of purpose and direction  and inspires, influences and supports others. As EO he has an expansive range of responsibilities from planning and organistaion of annual training and events through to recruitment campaigns, developing  support networks, and external partners. He is a real champion of continuous professional development for his volunteers.

According to Gerard who nominated him “Gerry Maguire is a 21st Century patriot.  He has given selflessly of himself to the State and his community over forty years. He has been central to the ongoing evolution of the Reserve. He was always to the fore  in identifying and creating opportunities for improvement.  As a person his moral courage is unquestionable, he always been people centric, and aspired to instill self esteem in young people.”

Nicola Sandgrove Coss

All Abilities, Laois

Nicola has founded an organisation that on one hand offers invaluable time off for parents of children with disabilities, countrywide social events based on fun, making friends and OT inspired sensory activities. The organisation is one of a kind, she also uniquely supports work experience for SNA’s, third level students and volunteers out of work trying to get back to employment.

According to Bernie who nominated her “many of us have years of experience as SNA’s but no recent work history as we were at home with kids for ten years, other new SNA’s were unable to get work because they needed more experience. Nicola took us all on and we are all the better for it personally and financially because they gave us the stepping stone to get back to work.”

“I along with at least 30 other SNA’s gained invaluable course work experience from the activities as it was the only place you got all conditions in the same place and you were guided and trained on each condition through working hands on with that child and their behaviours in the group. Along with many others I saw the benefit of what we were doing to the children and parents, so much so that years later I’m still volunteering with Nicola and the team and love everyday with the group. Nicola is a great team leader, many volunteers are around long term, around their own part time jobs because Nicola’s passion is infectious and its impossible not to make time to help out these fun wokshops.”