Kathleen McGlynn Community Hero
This month’s community hero comes from a strong tradition of volunteerism in the community and certainly lives up to the highest expectations’ that anyone could hold around what a community volunteer does. Kathleen McGlynn formerly Martin, a native of Cloghan, Glenfinn and one of a family of 13 has a longstanding association with her own community and that of the wider Finn Valley area. She is married to Danny and they have a family of six children with presently 14 grandchildren and counting.
First involvement in community…
Kathleen’s first involvement in community was based on the local tradition of helping out in the community and came from her own mother who firmly believed in doing what you could for others. This involved going to houses during wakes and helping the family out by making tea and doing whatever else was needed. She then became involved in the local GAA and could be found making the teas at matches and providing food for visiting teams. She can also be found supporting the teams and ferrying football players to matches. In the past she also became involved in organising and running dinner dances and started the GAA lotto which still continues to this day and is a vital source of revenue to the club. Kathleen has and continues to be a great asset to the club, she not only takes part in all of the above, but also performs the role of registrar for the teams, involving the registration of each team and player which must be done before a player can step on to a field.
Participation in other groups
Kathleen’s long association with community is certainly not exclusive to the local GAA club and she has, in the past, been a member of the Glenfinn Care of the Aged for 8 years and the Parish Council who went on to form the subcommittee Glenfinn Teoranta. This committee secured funding for the Glenfinn Day Centre which is now a vital link to the community for older members in particular, and services not only Glenfinn but outlying areas as well.
She is also currently a member of the pastoral committee, helping out in the local church. In her community she is also part of a group who is currently fundraising for the family of a former Glenfinn player who currently lives in Glenties. The group are planning a dance on the 6th May in Jackson’s Hotel to raise funds for the family who need support due to current health issues they are experiencing.
Kathleen’s official work is as a Home Help worker but even there she has taken on extra duties and is currently Shop Steward for the Home Help workers in the area. She has campaigned for contracts for home help workers who were totally dependent on whatever hours they were given with no guarantee of a basic minimum hours. In recent times this campaign has resulted in the securing of contracts for these workers.
Kate is sure to be found taking part in various community activities in all aspects of community and recently gave her talents to the very entertaining Save our Services float in the St Patricks Day parade, caring to the needs of a very upset, John Duffy aka John Dory and Tony McIntyre alongside Teresa Gillespie who both were being tested to their limits by their two patients. On the day it was all in good fun and did highlight the more serious issue currently affecting the community with the potential loss of local services.
Kate spends on average 15hours plus each week for community and is currently out selling tickets 4 nights a week for the local charities. This has been going on for the past 35 years and she has no intentions of sitting back at the moment. She does however acknowledge that she couldn’t do it without the backing of her husband Danny and her family who have always given her 100% support.
Over the years she has raised thousands of euros for the various charities she has supported.
Kathleen also gives a good deal of her time to Cunamh, a local group started by John Flanagan which came into existence in 1982 in response to a local need. At the time the idea came about that a permanent committee should be formed that could respond immediately to these types of situations in the community. The first committee was formed over a period of a few months and then immediately the group set to running a traditional weekend to raise funds. This weekend ran for 9 years alongside other events to raise funds. The group also began a national collection which they continue to run to the present day. They also run concerts, night at the races, truck run and dances including the last dance in the Butt Hall with Larry Cunningham and they currently have part ownership with the Family Enrichment Centre in the Charity Shop in Stranorlar. The group fundraise mainly for tragedies’ that happen in the Finn Valley area but in the past due to special circumstances they have also helped out in a few instances outside the area. Kathleen joined this group eight years ago and is now the group secretary. To date the group has raised over half a million euros for local causes. They organise a number of events in the locality to raise funds and have a fashion show planned for the May 11th in Jackson’s Hotel which will feature the fashion trends for the summer.
The original committee members were; Stephen Foy, Eileen Maguire, Seamus Bonner, Paddy McNulty, John Flanagan, Sammy McCool R.I.P. and Mick Duffy R.I.P. Some years later the group added new members; Terry O’Reilly, Michael McMenamin, Kathleen McGlynn, Cathal Faulkner, Bridget Gallagher, Sean Flanagan, Sr. Anne McLoone and Mary McGinley.
The current committee roles are filled by the following; Chairman Terry O Reilly, Secretary Kathleen McGlynn, Treasurer Sean Flanagan, Ass Treasurer Cathal Faulkner, Ass Chair Michael McMenamin, Ass Secretary Bridget Gallagher.
Commitment to local needs
It’s staggering to think that any human being can do so much in a community and at the same time hold down a job, raise a family of six, and be involved in so many different aspects of family and community at the same time. This however, is just the way Kathleen McGlynn does things, and although it may seem overwhelming to the rest of us mere mortals, Kathleen takes on her various roles with gusto and completes them with aplomb. Although the title of this piece reads “Community Hero”, in this case the word Superhero also comes to mind.
When asked about future plans Kathleen states clearly that she is going to retire at 65 and spend more time with the grandchildren. She would also like to travel to a foreign destination as she has never been abroad and is planning to drag Danny along with her, in the hope that when he gets a taste of world travel, the two of them will make a habit of it. Sure why wouldn’t they, they’d surely deserve it!
All that can be said, is that the groups who are lucky enough to have this lady as part of their membership, are richer for having her, and indeed so is this community.