RNLI fundraiser Bernie Mullen is the first recipient of the inaugural Rotary Club of Wexford Sassmannshausen Award created in honour of Jurgen Sassmannshausen, one of the founding members of the club who is now 92 years old.
Jurgen helped to establish Rotary Club in 1979, having arrived in Wexford from Germany with his wife Helga and their two young daughters Christina and Marike in 1971 to set up a light bulb factory on the Clonard industrial estate, employing up to 60 people.
The family made their home in nearby Pinewood Estate and quickly became immersed in the business, commercial and social life of the town.
Coming from Germany, Jurgen already had experience of Rotary and became a driving force with others in the establishment of the club in Wexford. He remains an active member having served as secretary up to three years ago and previously as president.
Jurgen is a staunch believer in the aims of the Rotary organisation and their value to business and personal life. Rotarians use their talents and expertise to make a difference for good in their own community and the wider world through projects such as “Just One Life”, the Youth Leadership Competition, Careers Connect, Bikes for Africa, Christmas Hampers, the Rotary International International Polio Eradication campaign and support to Ukrianians in Wexford, and make life-long friendships along the way.
Bernie Mullen, a fundraiser for the Royal National Lifeboats Institution in Rosslare Harbour was chosen by outgoing Wexford Rotary president Calodagh McCumiskey as the recipient of the first Sassmannshausen Award for her unique and significant contribution to her community over 30 years.
Bernie has strong family ties to the RNLI in which her father was coxwain for many years. She is also proud member of her local Town and Village Renewal Team and the Kilrane Rosslare Harbour Tops Playscheme for Children.
Other community interests include the local environmental group and the Kirwan Garden. She is a founder member of the Kilrane and Rosslare Harbour Tops Community Group and was instrumental with the group in presenting a concert recently in support of Ukranian families recently arrived in the area.
Bernie and other members of Rosslare Harbour Friends of Ukraine have risen to the significant challenge for a small community of assisting Ukrainian people fleeing from war.
She was a driver for the South East Radiotherapy Trust (SERT) bus for six years. She was also on the board of Wexford Women’s refuge for six years and served as chairperson for two years until January 2022.
Bernie embraces the Rotary objective of providing service service to others. She and her fellow committee members serve their community and promote goodwill through the fellowship they extend to others.
Through the Sassmannshausen Award, Rotary Club of Wexford wants to recognise people who make a noteworthy contribution to the same principles it follows and in making a difference in their own community are using their energy, passion and intelligence to make the world a better place.
In accepting the award, Bernie said she was “very honoured and very humbled” to be the first recipient. “By all accounts, Jurgen Sassmannshausen is a very special man. I am happy to have the ability and means to give back to my community and to be of service to others. I will continue to do so for as long as I can. In this world when you can be anything, be kind.”
Jurgen thanked the Rotary Club for implementing the award in his name. “I am very grateful for this amazing honour and I am so grateful to the Wexford Rotary Club for making this happen. Thank you for your good will, all of your effort and your TLC.
Describing Bernie Mullen as “an amazing lady”, he added: “I admire her mental strength, her goals, her good heart and her achievements. I wish Bernie many years of success.”