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Kilcormac Sergeant Receives AGSI Excellence Award

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Kilcormac Sergeant Receives AGSI Excellence Award thumbnailAGSI General Secretary, John Jacob presenting the the Association of Garda Sergeants Excellence Award to Sgt Ann Byrne.

A GARDA Sergeant originally from Kilcormac, has been honoured with the Association of Garda Sergeants Excellence Award at their annual delegate conference in Killarney. 

Sgt. Ann Byrne is stationed at Clogherhead Garda Station in the Drogheda Garda District and was honoured for her voluntary work, particularly in Haiti and Kenya.

Introducing the award the AGSI General Secretary John Jacob said 'she is a Humanitarian Relief Worker who has assisted the needy in Haiti and Kenya since 2010, at great personal expense financially and in time sacrificed in the service of others.

'Ann has dedicated over 30 years service to the people of Louth and An Garda Síochána. Additionally she has reached out her hand of friendship and support to communities abroad who have suffered greatly through no fault of their own.

'Ann is described as, "a woman that has a great compassion for young and old and this is where she really excels."

'It is this compassion that led Ann to embark on a selfless mission which has become an integral part of her life.

'When the devastating earthquake struck in Haiti in 2010, Ann was deeply affected and wanted to help. She immediately contacted the charity Haven which was providing humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti. She travelled to Haiti as a relief worker through fund raising in Louth and also in her home parish of Kilcormac in Co. Offaly. Within three months of the earthquake Ann was in Haiti as part of a team building new houses for small villages of 300-400 people. She has subsequently funder her trips to Haiti and Kenya using her own money.

'In 2012 Ann volunteered again, this time with Irish charity Haiti Orphanage Project Espwa. Espwa is the Creole word for "hope".

'Ann found herself on an impoverished Haitian island called Illeavache, where an old sub-standard orphanage was located. Along with her colleagues, they set about upgrading the facilities at the orphanage and built an extension with new accommodation and a physiotherapy room for children with disabilities.

'Ann and her colleagues brought the orphanage up to an acceptable standard for the children to live in comfort. Ann recalls her greatest moment - when they moved the children into the new facility. She identified this as a time of pride, satisfaction and great pleasure.

'Did you know that from Dublin to Illeavache is a seven-hour flight via New York, followed by a five-hour flight to Haiti followed by five hours by bus followed by 1 hour by boat? Ann has made this trip seven times sometimes twice a year to help others.

'Ann's motivation is simple. She is led back time and time again by the smile on the children's faces when she arrives at the orphanage. These children have nothing, but when Ann arrives they have her kindness and love and of course she always brings something with her.

'In 2014, Ann turned her attention to Africa. She volunteered with the Friends from Ireland Project. She travelled to Kenya, again at considerable personal expense, to help build a school for some of the most deprived children on the continent. She has visited Kenya three times since becoming involved with this charity

'The project Ann is involved in require a hugh amount of determination, team effort among volunteers considerable hard work These challenges have never fazed Ann or deterred her from her efforts.

'Ann's voluntary work in Haiti and most recently in Kenya is a reflection of her kind, caring and determined nature, characteristics she equally employs in her role as a member of An Garda Síochána.

'An excellent ambassador for the force, it is with huge satisfaction and pride that I now bestow the 2017 AGSI Excellence Award on Sergeant Ann Byrne,' concluded Mr Jacob.

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