Ian O’Connell from Killarney was one of those honoured last evening at the Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards 2018.
Over 250 people from across the county attended the event, to acknowledge the volunteering endeavours and achievements of young people from Kerry, aged between 13 and 21.
Twenty Merit Awards, a Group Award, a Special Achievement Award, a Community Safety Award and the Overall Winner Award were presented last night.
The Group Award was presented to the Sporting Chance Programme – National Learning Network, while the Special Achievement Award was presented to Ciarán Sears from Tralee.
The Community Safety Award went to Kevin Lenihan, Eamon Nolan and James McDonnell from Castleisland Community College.
The Lee Strand/Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards Overall Winner was 17-year-old Ian O’Connell from Killarney, who was described as an outstanding individual, an inspiration to all and a true real-life hero.
When Ian was 16 years old, he became paralysed from the neck down after falling off his bike in the Killarney National Park; his motto “If I can’t stand up, I will stand out” has made him a national hero for his positive attitude to life.
Finally, 20 Merit Award Certificates were presented to individuals who have made a positive contribution to their community and make it a better place to live.
Lee Strand Kerry Garda Youth Achievement Awards 2018
Ian O’Connell, Killarney
Sporting Chance Programme – National Learning Network
Special Achievement Award
Ciarán Sears, Tralee
Community Safety Award
Kevin Lenihan, Eamon Nolan & James McDonnell, Castleisland Community College.
Merit Award Winners 2018
Alannah Blennerhassett, Tralee
Oisín Bolt, Killorglin
Ian Coleman Horgan, Killorglin
Zara Daly, Kilcummin
Nathan Egan, Castleisland
Con Enright, Currow Village
Ava Fitzmaurice, Castleisland
Edmond Healy, Duagh
Ellen Hickey, Killarney
Alexandra Kelly, Tralee
Caoimhe Lynch, Beaufort
Ciarán MacGearailt, Baile ‘n Fheirtéaraigh
Cathal McLoughlin, Tralee
Ruth O’Connell, Tralee
Michaela O’Donoghue, Ballymacelligott
Jude Pierse, Ballyduff
Weronika Slomiany, Killarney
Melanie Smith, Blennerville
Rebecca Thompson, Caherciveen
Donald Walsh, Tralee