June 2022

MACE Unsung Heroes Community Awards

In May MACE ambassador, Johnny Sexton, put a call out for people to nominate unsung heroes from local communities all around Ireland. We wanted to hear about the people who go the extra mile to make a difference, but in many cases do not get the recognition they deserve or would never put themselves forward for an award.
There are 5 award categories with a prize of €1000 for the most worthy hero in each category and the overall MACE Community Award winner would receive an amazing €5000. People were asked to nominate their unsung hero, and to tell us which award they think they should win and why. MACE wanted to say thank you to the people who do amazing things to help their communities in a positive manner.

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated. Here are this year’s award winners.

ENVIRONMENT – Laura Maldonado – Balbriggan Community College

Mrs Maldonado is a Spanish teacher at Balbriggan Community College and the coordinator for the Green Schools team. She has organised multiple beach cleans and different activities to reduce the amount of water used in the school. All this and more is done in her own free time. With her help the school won Water School of the Year at the Green Schools awards earlier this year.

SPORT, HEALTH & WELL-BEING – Gráinne Flynn – Co.Clare 

Gráinne works voluntarily as a diabetes advocate as well as wearing many other hats. She has created significant change for the Diabetes community in the Midwest. She runs a number of peer support groups, to allow those with diabetes to chat to another person going through the same issues. She has also campaigned tirelessly for better services for those with diabetes.

CHARITY – Aisling Foran – Wicklow Triple A Alliance 

Aisling is the chair of Wicklow Triple A Alliance. Triple A stands for Autism, Aspergers and ADHD. She is a  single parent and carer. Aisling works full time, but also dedicates her time to run the charity. Aisling advocates, supports and has lobbied tirelessly. She kept the charity going throughout the pandemic singlehandedly as she didn’t want to burden the committee members during this time.

CHILD & YOUTH AWARD – Ruby O’Kelly – Cavan

Ruby is 16 from Cavan and throughout the pandemic she did live concerts for elderly people through social media. She used her music to bring joy into their lives and took the time to chat about everyday things and built up beautiful relationships with those she engaged with. Ruby has the biggest heart and whenever asked to do something for another person, she is first in line to offer and never asks for anything in return.


Juliette, Eileen and the team at MACE Kilgarvan were selected as the worthy winners of the MACE Store Team award. Acknowledged for always being  not just friendly and welcoming but they were called out for how supportive the team at the store is, with nothing being too much trouble and they frequently go above and beyond helping people quietly without fame or gain for themselves Recognised for their support of the local community their nomination was the local shoppers way of saying thanks to them for all they do.

OVERALL COMMUNITY AWARD – Bridget Delaney – Killarney Cardiac Response Unit

The Killarney Cardiac Response Unit assist the National Ambulance Service in Killarney to calls relating to heart attacks, cardiac arrests, choking & stroke. Bridget Delaney is one of the members who was nominated for a MACE Unsung Hero award. Bridget has been a volunteer with the responders group since it first started in 2015. She has been involved in many roles including training, treasurer, public access aed, assisting other schemes but all this is secondary to the volume of calls and the dedication she and the team have given to the community and given assistance to those in need no matter what time day or night.