The May Blarney & District Person of the Month is Valerie Kirby
“On behalf of Blarney GAA and Blarney GAA Healthy Club, we would like to nominate Valerie Kirby for Blarney & District Person of the Month for the month of May. We feel that Valerie is deserving of this award due to the pivotal role she has played within our community over the past few weeks. Valerie has shown herself to be a pillar of the Blarney community through her involvement in various initiatives in recent times. Valerie has gone above and beyond since the beginning of Covid – 19. This is highlighted by her participation in the ‘Covid-19 Task Group’. Valerie revealed her selfless nature by putting other people’s needs before her own during the pandemic and continues to do so. Whether our most vulnerable community members needed help collecting pension, prescriptions, groceries or any assistance in their home, Valerie ensured that members of our GAA club were on hand to volunteer when needed. Valerie’s compassion and determination to help those in need has been nothing short of outstanding. It should also be mentioned that Valerie has flourished in her ‘fill in’ role as part of the Covid-19 Response team that have come in to help with Blarney Meals and Wheels while its volunteers are cocooning. Valerie has stepped up to the mark by organising weekly delivery rosters and by making herself available on a daily basis to help out delivering these much-needed meals. As joint PRO of Blarney GAA Club, Valerie took on the responsibility of updating our members on social media with advice on Covid 19 and provide support and coping mechanisms for those cocooning. She also liaises with the all our coaches to keep them up to date on any club news. However, Valerie’s deep grá for the Blarney community and its members did not begin because of the virus, rather it was exacerbated by it. As a pivotal member of the Blarney GAA Healthy club, Valerie was involved in organizing the ‘Wednesday Walks’ well before the beginning of Covid-19. This initiative involved community members of all ages coming together to stay active and socialise during the week (whether as members of the GAA Club or not). Finally, we come to the Blarney 500 miles initiative in aid of Marymount Hospice, Pieta House, Blarney First Responders and Blarney Meals on Wheels. This in particular is why we believe Valerie deserves to win Blarney Person of the Month. Valerie took it upon herself to reach out to the Blarney diaspora all over the world to gather support for the challenge ensuring that those abroad also felt included in this community initiative. She was constantly posting and updating all social media outlets and rallying around to make sure the 500 mile challenge was reached. The response was outstanding with an amazing €16,000 raised for four worthy charities. Valerie is a testament to what community stands for. She is a constant support to those in need within the community. Her ability to inspire and engage others has ensured that Blarney’s spirit has stayed bright during these unprecedented times.