Ria Coady

Waterford Marine Search and Rescue

Co. Waterford

Ria Coady volunteers with Waterford Marine Search and Rescue’s ‘Suicide Prevention Patrol.’

Suicide Prevention Patrol volunteers walk the quays of Waterford every Saturday night to ensure everyone gets home safe and sound. If the team happens upon someone who looks like they are contemplating entering the water, the team monitors them before making contact.

Waterford Marine Search and Rescue (WMSAR) trains volunteers in suicide prevention and works closely with organisations such as the Samaritans and Pieta House.

“Ria saved my son’s life,” says her nominator, who wishes to remain anonymous. “The day my son gave up on life, he took a bus to Waterford to a secluded spot to end his life. His own words were, ‘She was like an angel that just appeared out of thin air.’

“He thought he was alone, and Ria appeared on the path and said hello to him. He was startled as he had not seen her coming. Thankfully she just knew something was wrong. She doubled back and started speaking to my son. It was only when she asked him straight out of he was suicidal and thinking of ending his own life that he broke down and told her some things we’ll never know. She stayed with my son, convinced him to call my husband, and stayed with him until his dad got there.

“We can never express our gratitude to Ria for her actions that day. I truly believe that without her, we would not have our son.”

“Along with my friends in WMSAR, I get to give people a second chance,” says Ria. “When people think there is only one solution to their worries, we get to take them from that dark place and show them that, not only are there solutions to their worries, but people to help them.”

Please remember you’re not alone. If you’re going through a tough time please take that first step and talk to someone, or contact one of the helplines below:

  • Pieta House 24/7: 1800 247 247
  • ChildLine Freephone 1800 66 66 66
  • Samaritans: 116 123
  • Free text the word Talk to 50101
  • Free-text HELLO to 50808

Terence Reilly

Civil Defence & Irish Red Cross

Co. Meath

Terence Reilly’s commitment to volunteering has spanned over 30 years, volunteering with the Irish Red Cross and Civil Defence Ireland as an Emergency Medical Technician.

In addition to helping establish a Community First Responder programme in his area to save lives, Terence has taught CPR & First Aid to many members of the public. Terence has also volunteered as an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) instructor.

During the pandemic, alongside fellow Civil Defence members, Terence delivered food to those in need in Meath and in his community of Trim, making sure they had what they needed.

“Terence is extremely dedicated to volunteering in his community and helping those around him,” says his nominator. “He gives his time generously in the service of others. Terence has made a huge impact through his volunteering and has helped so many people through his service with the Irish Red Cross and Civil Defence.”

Karen Smyth

Louth and East Meath Defibrillator Unit & Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes

Co. Louth

Karen Smyth volunteers with Louth and East Meath Defibrillator Unit and Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes.

“My favourite thing about volunteering is making a connection with others who need help, support, or just a chat,” says Karen. “And that the people I help through volunteering go on to volunteer themselves or do other things to make our country a better place. Volunteering has helped me gain experience and confidence as well. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.”

Karen has been volunteering with Louth and East Meath Defibrillator Unitsince 2012 and is instrumental in the daily running of the unit. Over the years, the group has fundraised to install over 25 life-saving defibrillators in communities. Karen has been out collecting funds, no matter the weather.

Karen attends schools every year training students how to use defibrillators and perform CPR. To date, Karen has delivered free training to over 6,000 students and members of the public.

Cú Chulainn Blood Bikes provide a swift, volunteer service to hospitals in the North Eastern Region of Ireland for the collection and transportation of blood, human tissue, X-rays, and infant milk.

“Karen is always ready to help the community and teach CPR and use of a defibrillator,” say her colleagues.

“Whether teaching, recruiting, or involved with community groups, she always has a smile for everyone. Every member of the community is important to Karen. She’s one-in-a-million, who never asks for anything. She’s a humble, kind, and generous person.”

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter and stay up to date with all things volunteering.