This week some of the Irish Red Cross’ longest serving volunteers were awarded for their commitment at the 2013 National Long Service Awards ceremony, held in the Mansion House, Dublin. Between them, the 34 men and women have given more than 1000 years of volunteering to the charity.
Amongst the veteran volunteers was Joan McCarthy, who was awarded for 70 years of service. Joan along with Betty Halpin (R.I.P.) were involved in Operation Shamrock in 1946. At this time civilian children from blitzed German cities came to Ireland and were fostered by Irish families. Most returned home to Germany but some settled here and raised families of their own.
Since 1939, Irish Red Cross volunteers have been involved in thousands of events, emergencies and community programmes around the country, including the Stardust Nightclub disaster in 1981 and the North Strand bombings in 1941.
Through its network of trained volunteers, the Irish Red Cross continues to work in communities throughout Ireland, responding to emergencies such as during the Cork floods and severe snow, when the Irish Red Cross 4x4 vehicles allowed volunteers to reach those stranded in their homes.