Brian’s Treasure Chest, Midland Simon, GOAL, and Concern
Brian Fagan is no stranger to volunteering, being active for more than 40 years both at home and abroad. He set up Brian’s Treasure Chest, a charity shop, in 2011 to support local charities and community groups in North Westmeath, and in situations of crisis, charities overseas. He served for 21 years as a member of the F.C.A. (now the Reserve Defence Force) and is now a member of the Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women.
To date, Brian has raised over € 1.3 million for charities, with Brian’s Treasure Chest contributing over €150,000 of that sum. He started the “Sleep Out” fundraiser for Midlands Simon and has been recognized personally by the CEO for his €200,000 in donations to Concern Worldwide.
Beyond Mullingar, Brian has volunteered abroad countless times often with GOAL, including going to Haiti, Ukraine, Afghanistan, several countries in Africa, and even in 1996, parachuting onto the North Pole to raise funds for the Bubblegum Club, which provided holidays and weekend breaks for terminally ill children. He is a trusted expert in not just the human side of charity work, but also the business and logistics sides of an operation, and when the community sees him stand for a cause, they feel confident in its importance.
Jude Mapp has been volunteering with ALONE as a Visitation Support and Befriending Volunteer for almost four years now. He visits an older person weekly and has become a consistent companion who both challenges and comforts the older person. Jude encouraged the two to become more active and spend more time outside, and happily takes on responsibilities outside of their regular visits, like shopping or errands. Even when the older person doesn’t feel up to company, Jude checks in by phone, knowing how easy it is for an isolated elderly person to slip through the cracks in society.
“Jude’s dedication to this Older Person goes beyond the call of duty, and his consistent visits provide not only emotional support but also a lifeline to the outside world” writes his nominator.
Jude’s friendship and the importance of the relationship he has with the older person he serves became very clear this year. Because they have such a regular relationship, when the older person didn’t answer Jude’s calls or knocks at the door, Jude contacted emergency services. The Gardaí broke into the home and found the older person unresponsive. Jude’s quick thinking and dedication to the relationship ensured that this person got medical attention just in time, saving their life.
A District Senior Citizens Holiday Programme
John F. O’Sullivan has been organising holidays for senior citizens since 1986. Over these decades more than 450 OAPs annually have been a part of John’s A District Holiday Programme. With a full schedule of sightseeing, nightly entertainment, and comfortable accommodation, these trips give the elderly guests an exciting and social opportunity for fun. The holidays have taken local elderly people across the country and as far as Lourdes and Fatima. As a former Garda and Sergeant, John uses his network of nurses and gardaí to make sure that the trip is “chaperoned” so the travellers feel safe and cared for. John also runs fundraisers to subsidize the trips for those on fixed incomes and volunteers accompany the older people to lend a hand helping people off buses and handling luggage, or to lend a voice to the sing-songs that last late into the night! After the success of the Holiday Programme in Dublin, John also set up similar holiday programmes with Kenmare Community Care and Kerry Association in Dublin/Cork
Wanting to continue spreading the joy that these trips bring, John started hosting an annual Christmas party. He has attracted guest artists to perform, and this year 200 senior citizens will join him at the Guinness Storehouse.
When not organising holidays or booking venues for people to boogie in, John is active in his community, making sure that funerals are comfortable and that mourners are cared for. All of his neighbors can think of times he took on projects to beautify a public space or clean up church grounds.