Thurles Credit Union – Thurles People Of The Year

Thurles people of the year – 2008

A number of Thurles people were honoured on Saturday night last when Thurles Credit Union presented its annual “People of the Year Awards” at a dinner in the Anner Hotel. Indeed, if there was a spare award available on Saturday night last it would surely have gone to the committe members of Thurles Credit Union who organised this years Thurles Persons of the Year Awards. The whole evenings event was organised to the last diminutive detail, with total military precision, yet in an air unhurried, laughter filled, calm and relaxed, as we have now begun to expect from this organisation, on every occassion. Guests were met by their hosts and felt honoured even before well earned accolades were announced.

Among the guests at the event were President of Thurles Lions Club, Sean Sherlock, President of Thurles Chamber, Austin Broderick, Superintendent Tony Cogan of An Garda Siochana, Fr. Joe Walsh, and adjudicators Michael Dundon, editor of The Tipperary Star, and George Willoughby, previously nominated twice for this award. The Mayor of Thurles, Mae Quinn, also an adjudicator, was unable to be present due to previous committments.

Guest of honour, Deputy Mayor of Thurles, Patricia Durack O’Dwyer, commended all the nominees for their voluntary input into the town, to their respective organisations and to the community at large. She also lauded the Credit Union for sponsoring and promoting these awards each year and hoped that they would continue to highlight the great work being done by people acting in a voluntary capacity.

Credit Union President Frank Connolly re-affirmed the credit union’s commitment to the Awards, and he thanked the editor and staff of The Tipperary Star for their dedicated and professional assistance with the event. “There are no winners or losers with these Awards,” he said, “only people gaining the respect and admiration of their friends, neighbours and the community at large.” He also said that with the downturn in the economy in recent months, it is most important that we retain our sense of community, and that we stay true to the Credit Union principle of putting people before financial gain. He commended the organising committee and singled out Marketing Officer, Michael Harty, for the tremendous work done in preparing for this event.

The large attendance gave a very warm reception to the ten nominees, all of whom were present along with family members and friends. They were introduced individually by master of ceremonies, Mr Tom Noone, who read the citations for each nominee prior to the announcement of the recipients of the three People of the Year Awards. He also quoted from a previous chairman of the organising committee who had described the recipients as “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”. This was exactly what the Credit Union was striving to recognise and reward, as it fitted extremely well with the ethos of the credit union movement itself.

The Nominees

First to be presented with an award was Evelyn Nevin from Ballycurrane, who was honoured for her work on behalf of Thurles Parents and Friends of People with Special Needs, and also with the Jack & Jill Foundation. Evelyn has worked tirelessly for these deserving causes and has helped organise many fund-raising projects, as well as summer camps and activities.

Long-serving athletics trainer Patsy Dorney, from Collins Park in Thurles, was also named as a Person of the Year for the dedication and excellence he has committed to bringing Thurles Crokes Athletics Club to where it is today as one of the leaders on the national scene. The word ‘legend’ was applied to Patsy and it is true in a very real sense. His wife Kathleen was also praised for her invaluable assistance in keeping the club to the very forefront.

The third Award was presented to Catherine Maher McGovern from Cloncleigh, Two-Mile-Borris, who has raised thousands of euro for the Oncology Department of Limerick hospital. Catherine suffers from a rare form of cancer and has been in receipt of treatment on a weekly basis for the past number of years. Despite this, she maintains a very positive attitude to life and organised a group of friends and neighbours to compete in the Ladies Mini-Marathon as a major fund-raiser. As well as family duties, Catherine continues taking part with the local church choir and with Moyne Variety Group.

Myles Macken from Brittas, Thurles, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his tremendous work on behalf of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, an organisation which epitomises the ‘unsung hero’ ethos which the Credit Union so much admires and which will become of even more relevance in the recessionary times ahead. Myles is currently President of the Ormond Region of the Society, having previously served in a similar capacity with the Thurles Conference, as well as serving at National level.

Kieran Kennedy, of Collins Park, Thurles, was presented with a Sporting Achievement Award to mark the milestone of a World Military Golf Championship title win by the Thurles Golf Club member earlier this year. Kieran is a member of the committee there and, in addition to maintaining a plus handicap, also takes time out to coach younger members of the club.

The other nominees all received specially commissioned mementoes of the occasion.

Eamon Shanahan, Sarsfield Street, although only sixteen years old, was rewarded for his involvement with his school, with several societies, with Phoenix Productions and the Cathedral Folk Group and with care of a family member with special needs;

Bill Dwyer, Collins Park, was lauded for his life-long commitment to sport and for his excellence in the coaching and training of young players in Thurles Rugby Club;

Eve Molony, Liberty Square, was commended for her dedication to improving student facilities in Scoil Ailbhe. Eve travels from Dublin twice weekly to assist on a voluntary basis;

Clodagh Kenny is a young Garda officer who has gone beyond the call of duty to assist victims of crime and was highly praised by the community in Littleton and Two-Mile-Borris, where she is based;

Johnny Wort, Collins Park, has dedicated himself to remembering people who contributed to the development of Thurles in the past and has brought the Garden of Remembrance in St. Mary’s to a very high standard.

Frank Connolly concluded a most enjoyable event by confirming that the Awards would be back again next year, bigger and better than ever.


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