A shared interest between father and sons strengthens familial bonds whether it’s football or fishing. In the case of the Fogarty clan it’s volunteering with the Irish Red Cross.
This week saw Finian, the older Fogarty, receive a medal for his astounding sixty years of voluntary service with the organisation. ‘My father was one of the founding members of the Slane Unit,’ says his son Frank, ‘the first meeting was held in his car in the village.’
Finian, along with six others undertook the task of establishing Meath’s first Irish Red Cross First Aid unit. Since then, the branch has gone from strength to strength. Their teaching first aid to locals and attendance at local events have provided a confidence and care within the north Meath community.
Frank recalls travelling as a small boy with his dad to the North Dublin Motorcycle Club events. He says that the work of their branch was highly appreciated by the club, which was reflected in their generous donation of the first ambulance to the unit in the 1960s.
Finian trained many of the current members in first aid, including the branches current IDU Jimmy Mooney. Frank says that when his Dad taught courses to staff in a local mill, where a fire had previously broken out, the branch increased significantly during that period.
‘A lot of the duties were not high end emergencies but he made a significant contribution to the community,’ he says. ‘The branch worked shoulder to shoulder with Cairde in looking after the elderly within the community’.
Finian, who recently celebrated his 78th birthday, is showing no signs of slowing down. Frank says that only a few months ago, he and his father attended a sporting event as volunteers. ‘The Irish Red Cross Volunteering is his legacy,’ says Frank, ‘he is known as person who always volunteers within the Slane community.’
Frank’s son Carl, now sixteen years old, has picked up the torch of the Fogarty men and continues in the tradition as an Irish Red Cross volunteer. ‘It’s something me and my own father would often talk about, different duties and what goes on,’ says Frank. There can be no doubt the experience of volunteering has shaped the father/son relationship and created a lasting Forgarty legacy of care and active service in the Slane community.
For more information about volunteering with the Irish Red Cross see www.redcross.ie/get-involved