Civil defence volunteers who assisted a distressed person at Wexford bridge received special certificates of commendation at the annual County Wexford Civil Defence awards dinner in the Riverbank Hotel, which was attended by Minister of State, Paul Kehoe.
According to the citation, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Sinead Furlong, Jonathan Gethings, Jordan McGrath and James Pierce engaged with the person and brought him to safety, summoning the emergency services who took care of him.
Long service medals medals were presented to volunteers who have given many years to Civil Defence - 40 years, Liam Healy, Wexford Unit, Peter Earle, Ballygarrett Unit, Donal Wafer, Ballygarrett Unit; 30 years, Noel Stacey, Wexford Unit; 20 years, Anne Browne, Wexford Unit; 10 years, Conor Barry, Wexford Unit, Walter Kent, New Ross Unit.
Wexford County Council chairman Michael Sheehan and director of services John Carley, along with David Buckley, principal officer in the Civil Defence College, presented certificates to over 60 volunteers for training in first aid, radio communications, swift water training, welfare training and severe weather off-road driving.
FAR Instructor Matt Crispin was presented with his Second Officer Bars by Mr Buckley to mark his promotion.
The awards night was also attended by Garda Superintendent James Doyle, Anthony Byrne, National Ambulance Service, Wexford RNLI representatives, Commdt David O'Grady of Wexford Order of Malta and invited guests.
Wexford Civil Defence Officer Peter O' Connor said 2019 was a very busy year for the organisation, with 65 local training courses provided and a number of instructors also returned to the Civil Defence College for re-certification.
There were 35 new applications for membership and 20 new recruits are now in training with the Enniscorthy unit and five in the New Ross and Wexford units.
The Civil Defence College provided additional funding towards the purchase of a Ford Ranger, three Lifepacs for New Ross, Gorey and Wexford and a two-bay vehicle garage in Gorey.
The total extra funding to Wexford Civil Defence was €57,000 and Mr O' Connor thanked Minister Kehoe and Mr Buckley for the allocation of the new Ford Ranger.
During the year to date, Civil Defence volunteers were involved in a total of 77 civic and community events from athletics and half-marathons to the Wexford Maritime Festival and Gorey Market Festival, working with the HSE and National Ambulance Service.
They were also involved in missing persons searches, including boat operations, land searches and drone support for An Garda Síochána.
A successful joint exercise with the Coast Guard and RNLI, involving casualty evacuation and triage from a sailing accident, was held in Curracloe, along with county training days in Carrigbyrne, New Ross and Borodale, Enniscorthy.
Further training days will be held in 2020 when there will also be a focus on re-establishing a unit in the Ballygarrett area.
Mr O'Connor paid an early tribute and a special presentation to director of services, Mr Carley who is due to retire in December.
He said John became director with responsibility for Civil Defence in July 2014 and strongly supported it through improvements in the service in Wexford.
He supported the doubling of the capital allocation for a new headquarters and the provision of garage facilities in Enniscorthy and Gorey.
He established a project to look at the provision of a new headquarters for Wexford, providing the resources for plans to be drawn up.
'We have looked at several options from a new build to the purchase of a building. Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of his control, we could not proceed at this time. However, the project remains live.
'I would ask all involved to keep John's project moving and provide a much-needed permanent home for Wexford Civil Defence,' he said.
Mr O' Connor also thanked all the volunteers and instructors for their hard work during the year and commended their commitment to the organisation.