A Carlow couple has been given an “outstanding commitment award” from Ireland’s largest aid agency Concern Worldwide for their work as volunteers.
Don and Phil Heenan from Williamstown, near Rathvilly, recently retired as volunteer adjudicators for the organisation’s national Concern Debates competition after many years helping choose winners and runner-ups.
Hundreds of schools take part in the nationwide contest each year with students going head-to-head in debates about world and development issues – with volunteer judges like Don and Phil deciding who wins each one.
Former businessman Don says “It’s lovely to get this recognition and we are delighted with it,”. The former businessman now runs a small farm with wife Phil who worked as a civil servant.
He adds “Our contact with young people was minimal and we felt that the debates brought great balance into our lives when we were communicating with these young people who were so bright and hungry for advice and help and we were only happy to do so”.
It’s the second time that the pair have been honoured by Concern at its volunteer awards for their commitment and dedication to the role – which has at times seen them adjudicate up to three debates in one week.
At the most recent awards they were among 32 Concern volunteers honoured alongside Castledermot man Joe MacGloin, who has been adjudicating Concern Debates’ contests in Carlow since the early 1990s.
More information about its work or how to support the aid agency can be found on its website at concern.net.