Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Safety & Emergency Services Shortlisted Nominees 2021


We are so proud to announce this year’s shortlisted nominees in the Safety & Emergency Services Category. This year we are celebrating three outstanding volunteers in each category.

Read each of their inspiring stories below.


Jonathan Lynch, Meath Civil Defence, Co. Meath

Jonathan Lynch volunteers with multiple organisations in Co. Meath, and his impact on the community is wide reaching.   

 As an officer, instructor and member with Meath Civil Defence for 14 years now, he can be found teaching first aid classes on a weekly basis to groups of volunteers across a range of different skill levels. Jonathan also takes an active role in the operational side of the organisation, volunteering at festivals and community events, leading members in both effective patient care and event planning. As a qualified driving instructor, Jonathan also provides driving support and assessment to volunteers members throughout the county. 

 Along with Civil Defence, Jonathan is also co-founder and former Chair of the Active First Responders (AFR) team, which provides a community first responder service to 11 townlands around Co. Meath. Since AFR’s foundation in 2014, he has regularly answered emergency calls, supporting the local community in times of need and also his fellow volunteers. The scheme has grown from strength to strength and boasts a well-trained, experienced group of people now who continue to provide support to the community against the backdrop the Covid-19 Pandemic.  

The AFR group, led out by Jonathan, are responsible for the installation, promotion and maintenance 16 public access defibrillators in areas, which has provided comfort and reassurance to the community. This is coupled with providing community training to local schools and organisations. Jonathan also proudly represented CFR groups across Leinster on the Committee of CFR Ireland.

As a Vice Chairman and committee member of Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival, Jonathan played a key role in the festival’s success as it welcomed 10,000 people to the area annually and provided a host of entertainment to the young and old of South Meath every September.  

 Jonathan is a proud volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation where he works with the charity to grant the wishes of young people with life-limiting medical conditions. His combined experience in Make-A-Wish and festivals brought him to also volunteer with Special Olympics Ireland.  Jonathan’s ability to identify a need within the community and act on it has had an invaluable impact on the community, engaging and benefiting people of all ages. 


Brian Niland, Galway RNLI, Co. Galway 

 

Brian Niland has been a volunteer with Galway RNLI for almost two decades. Beginning his volunteer journey as a crew member, Brian is now a Helm, which means he can take charge of the lifeboat durin

g launch and at sea. This volunteer role requires significant continuous training in order to maintain competencies, which Brian willingly undertakes while attending many call outs throughout the year. Over the past year, he has responded to multiple search and rescue, search and recover and river rescue missions, and regularly remains on call for 24 hours in order to provide support to people at sea.  

Brian is highly regarded among all the volunteers at Galway RNLI, and is recognized for his ability to stay calm in even the most challenging of situations. He is always willing to step forward when needed, demonstrated by the key role he played in saving a person who was in distress in the Docks area of Galway City. On a walk after work Brian entered the water after spotting the individual in distress and successfully mobilized people passing by to call emergency services and assist in administering first aid, facilitating a full recovery.  

Brian’s commitment to his volunteer role is unwavering and he intends to continue is long service for years to come.  

 


Tony O’Brien, Cork City Community First Responders, Co. Cork 

 

Tony O’Brien is a volunteer with Cork City Community First Responders and has been involved with the organisation since it’s establishment. His passion for providing community support sees him regularly engaged with community organisations in order to provide training and essential skills. 

Tony recognised the need for specialist skills when engaging with individuals in times of challenge, and undertook suicide awareness training in order to provide this essential support when required. He is regularly on call at all hours of the day and night, always willing to step forward in emergency situations. 

In addition to his dedication to the Cork City Community First Responders, Tony is engaged with Homeless Help Cork and regularly gives his time to homeless groups throughout the city, while continuing to volunteer with various soccer clubs. The depth and breadth of Tony’s volunteer experience has a hugely positive impact on the Cork city community.