Gene Barry from Birr, Co. Offaly has won the Grandparent Award at the 2012 ‘Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards’, which highlight the achievements of those who are deaf or hard of hearing. RTE presenter Brenda Donohue presented Gene with his award.
The awards were presented to those who are deaf or hard of hearing and have made a significant contribution to society, their community, workplace, family or through sporting excellence. The Awards event is a joint initiative between Hidden Hearing and the Irish Deaf Society.
Gene’s daughter recently lost her battle with cancer leaving behind her young son, who both Gene and his wife are now helping her husband to care for. In spite of his great loss, Gene recently organised a golf tournament in aid of cancer care and raised a staggering total of €17,000, with €8,000 of the funds raised going directly to the hospice which provided the care and support to his daughter.
Speaking at the Awards, RTE presenter Brenda Donohue said: “The Heroes Award winners have made a huge contribution to Irish society and excelled in their chosen discipline, proving that being Deaf or hard of hearing is not a barrier to achieving goals and dreams. With our busy lifestyles, it is often difficult to take a step back and acknowledge people who are doing exceptional things, so awards such as these are very important. The winners’ achievements deserve to be brought to the attention of the public, so that they receive the recognition they deserve”.
Congratulating the winners, Stephen Leddy, Managing Director, Hidden Hearing said: “This is the second year of the Heroes Awards and we had another amazing response to the initiative. I would like to acknowledge each of our nine ‘heroes’, who rightly deserve their award. The Heroes Awards has proven an excellent platform for creating awareness about the Deaf and hard of hearing community in Ireland and of the great contribution they make to Irish society”.
Discussing the Awards, Kevin Mulqueen, Chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society said: “The ‘Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards’ are the only awards initiative in Ireland for the Deaf and hard of hearing and the Irish Deaf Society is delighted to be involved with them. As an organization, we want to see a society where Deaf people have full and unrestricted access to all walks of life thus becoming equal citizens, contributing and participating freely. The Heroes Awards demonstrates the outstanding achievements by those within our community and the excellent contributions they make to all aspects of Irish life”.