Benny Grogan in line for another award
From over 500 nominations, 30 exceptional volunteers and 3 outstanding groups of volunteers have been shortlisted for this year's Volunteer Ireland Awards including Benny Grogan from Louth.
These national awards will celebrate Ireland's unsung heroes at a special ceremony in Sligo, the 2017 European Volunteering Capital, in December. One exceptional volunteer will be named Ireland's Volunteer of the Year.
This year marks an extremely special year for the Volunteer Ireland Awards. Not only are they celebrating their tenth year, they will also form part of the prestigious closing ceremony of Sligo's designation as European Volunteering Capital.
The awards aim to celebrate the extraordinary dedication that nominees have shown to help others, often taking time away from family and friends to give back. Benny is one such example.
Benny has been a dedicated volunteer for most of his life, particularly with his beloved St. Kevin's GAA. However it is to the WATCH cycling club that he is most dedicated.
He had volunteered for many years as a sighted pilot for blind cyclists under the support of the NCBI. When the NCBI reduced their services in his local area he stepped in and established the WATCH cycling group in Louth so that blind cyclists could continue to enjoy the freedom that comes from being on the open road.
Never one to seek the spotlight, Benny has often said that "The people who come out with us, the blind and the partially sighted, are our inspiration to do this".
Commenting on the shortlist for the Volunteer Ireland Awards, Louth Volunteer Centre Manager Gráinne Berrill said "Thousands of people across the country volunteer each day, giving their time without asking for anything in return. This year's shortlist really captures the breadth and variety of volunteering that takes place throughout Ireland - often going unnoticed. We are particularly lucky in Louth to have exceptional volunteers such as Benny who help our community thrive. The awards allow us to really celebrate and showcase everything that these volunteers do but most of all they give us an opportunity to say thank you."
Sports & Recreation section nominees: Alex Whelan - Blind Football Ireland, Dublin, Benny Grogan - WATCH Cycling, Louth, Kathryn Keogh - Special Olympics, Wexford.