It’s not every day that one gets nominated for a prestigious Presidential award, but that is exactly what happened to Newtownforbes native, James Mahon recently when he became the proud recipent of a Gaisce Award.
After two years of volunteering and learning new skills, James was awarded the prestigious Silver Award, and presented with it by local footballer, Paddy Dowd. A special reception was held to mark the event at the RehabCare resource centre and the local hero was surrounded by his family members and many friends.
“James attends the centre in the Redleaf building in Townspark, Longford town and decided, himself, to take on the challenge of clinching one of the country’s most prestigious and respected individual awards,” said Sally Hibbs of RehabCare. “He had to complete four main challenges to achieve his silver award and these included 26 weeks of community involvement, learning a new personal skill and physical recreation.”
For his community involvement, James spent time at the ISPCA HQ in Kenagh.
“There he walked a dog once a week and for his personal skill, James learnt to play the piano,” Ms Hibbs added. “Improving his swimming was the challenge he set himself for the physical recreation section, and after undergoing weekly sessions at the pool of the Longford Arms Hotel, he perfected this skill brilliantly.”
For the final section of the award, the local lad was required to undertake a three day adventure that covered a minimum distance of 190km. “He researched, planned, prepared, and more importantly, completed a cycle with his sister Ann in Lough Borg Derg in Dromod,” Ms Hibbs continued. “They both camped out overnight, and cooked on the campfire, and James really enjoyed the experience. Achieving the silver Gaisce Award has broadened James’ horizon and while it has been a tough challenge, he will not be deterred and has more plans up his sleeve for the future.”
James is currently preparing for the opportunity to earn himself a Gold Gasice Award – and with his determination and skill base - he will no doubt, also clinch that very prestigious award in the near future.