The twin brothers from Waterford City have helped save dozens of lives and were last night announced Volunteers of the Year.
In Jan 2010, the Barry twins set up Waterford Marine Search and Rescue to provide their native city with a voluntary 24-hour, 365-days-a-year search and rescue service. Since then, the organisation has grown to involve 40 volunteers and helped to save 69 lives.
Their efforts were rewarded at a gala Volunteer Ireland Awards 2013 ceremony supported by Panadol and hosted by RTÉ presenter Keelin Shanley. President Michael D Higgins has been patron of the Volunteer Ireland Awards since 2011.
Darryl and Declan are at the organisation’s base seven days a week, and often stay late into the night, making sure that the service is working to its full potential. The voluntary service also now operates a weekend suicide prevention patrol system.
They were nominated for an award by fellow volunteer David Hearne.
“If we get called out to a person in distress at three in the morning, they will be there along with the rest of the crew,” said David.
“I can’t say how much they have changed the lives of hundreds of people by setting up this organisation.”
The 2013 awards also included 10 category award winners:
- Animals & Environment: John Power, Dunmore East Tidy Towns, Co Waterford;
- Arts, Culture and Media: Alice Mannion, Kilmurry Drama Group, Co Roscommon;
- Campaigning and Awareness-Raising: Frankie Forde-Waldron, Mayo Roscommon Hospice, Co Mayo;
- Children and Youth: Killian O’Kelly, Foróige, Bundoran, Co Donegal;
- Community: Daniel Downey, Cavan Community Radio and others, Cavan;
- Education and Training: Fintan Mulligan, 121digital, Ashford, Co Wicklow;
- Health and Disability: Lorraine Dempsey, Special Needs Parents Association, Aughrim, Co Wicklow;
- International Development: Anne Copplestone, The Hope Foundation, Cork City;
- Social Work: Liam Hendry, Assisting Leo Garvey, Ballina, Co Mayo;
- Sport and Recreation: John McCarthy, Irish Wheelchair Association Sport, East Cork.
Volunteer Ireland CEO Yvonne McKenna congratulated all the award recipients. “I am delighted, on International Volunteer Day, to give my heartfelt thanks to the 700 volunteers who were nominated, the 31 who made the shortlist, the 10 Category Awardees, and our two overall Volunteers of the Year for their commitment and dedication to making Ireland a better place to live in,” she said.
More than 13,500 volunteers have registered through volunteer.ie and local Volunteer Centres this year. These volunteers have clocked up an incredible 439,000 hours of voluntary work, which has been estimated to have an equivalent value of almost €10m.