On Monday afternoon in Kilkee Bay, Caitriona Lucas paid the highest price imaginable as she carried out a rescue mission with her two volunteer colleagues on their Doolin Coast Guard rib.
As a longstanding volunteer, Caitriona gave her time and her talents unselfishly to the community that needed her. The many seafarers, adventurers, and holiday makers who Caitriona would have helped over her 10 years with the Irish Coast Guard can be grateful today for Caitriona and for the volunteers like her who do this job every day. Every emergency they respond to brings unknown danger. They run the risk of becoming one of the lost souls for whom relatives and friends endlessly grieve.
In the search for a missing teacher from nearby Lissycasey, this young mother gave her life in the most tragic of circumstances. A mother and a public librarian, Caitriona exemplified all that is good about our communities and our volunteering sector. LinkedIn lists her many professional achievements and paints a picture of a hard working and driven woman whose contribution to society is impossible to measure.
Everywhere we look there are volunteers; you may be one in some of your daily activities. Whether you help out with scout groups, put out the cones at hurling, wash the football jerseys or run a few soccer drills, take a youth club or homework clubs under your supervision; you are a volunteer. We may not all be able to climb down a cliff face, secure a winch, man a high speed RIB or any of the other incredible things that Caitriona could do. But every ounce of energy you put in to helping others, being a volunteer in your community is a tribute to Catriona, and to her grieving husband and children.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dilis.