On Sunday 6th October, Slane man Finian Fogarty was awarded with the Irish Red Cross Long Service Medal for an 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.”
Since then, the branch has gone from strength to strength, offering first aid training to the local community and providing cover at local events, from hill walking and equestrian groups, to rubbing shoulders with music icons Freddy Mercury and Axl Rose at the Slane Castle concerts.
Following a fire at Slane Mill in 1964, Finian trained the mill staff in first aid in their canteen; many of them went on to join the Irish Red Cross and remain active members to this day. In 1969, when refugees took shelter in Gormanstown from the conflict in Northern Ireland, it was these volunteers and others from the branch that provided care and meals to the thousands of families housed there.
Over the decades, Finian and the Slane Branch volunteers have proven themselves to be dedicated members of the community, contributing wherever they saw a need. Be it as support for the 2003 Special Olympics, by checking in on the elderly and homebound as they do each winter, or by providing transport to wheelchair bound members of the community so that they can enjoy a little independence and socialising.
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 volunteered to provide first aid cover at a sporting event. ‘The Irish Red Cross volunteering is his legacy,’ says Frank, ‘he is known as person who always volunteers within the Slane community.’