Congratulations to Thomas Bruton on being awarded a Gold Gaisce Award. He received this at a ceremony in Dublin Castle on 6 December. Thomas is the son of Des and Joan Bruton. He is a member of St Peter’s Church in Dunboyne.
The Gaisce awards are recognition of young people who challenge themselves, strive to reach their full potential, and contribute to the life of their community. Presenting the awards President Higgins told the “talented and spirited young people” they had helped change society for the better.
Thomas has already gained his Bronze and Silver Gaisce awards. To receive the Gold Award he demonsttrated achievement in Physical Recreation, Personal Skills, Community Involvement and taking part in a residential. This involved Thomas in swimming, sailing, improving his french as well as helping the Church Wardens in Dunboyne every week. Over the course of their Gaisce challenges, the awardees contributed more than 10,000 hours to helping their communities, developing skills and achieving personal goals. One of the areas cited at the awards ceremony was the contribution made by Thomas to his church, St Peter’s Dunboyne.
Talking of what taking part in the Gaisce Awards has meant for him, Thomas said, “Gaisce has really stretched me! I got to do things I never dreamt of. I got to meet heroes like Ossie Calhoun. People who didn’t know me before this helped me to achieve my Gaisce. I have met new people. I have shown others that having a disability need not hold me back, as long as I was prepared to ask for help”.
President Higgins highlighted the contribution that the award winners make to our society. In his speech he said, “When we are encouraged to test our limits and to push beyond the horizons of what we thought was possible, and when we do so always seeking to care for the welfare of others, we learn to look beyond the inevitabilities by which we so often live our lives”. He continued, “That is a critical experience, fundamental to the development of pro-active, engaged, compassionate citizens who are not afraid to make a difference and to challenge the status quo so as to craft better communities and a better society.”
The chief executive of Gaisce, Yvonne McKenna, said the Gaisce vision for Ireland was to have a country where young people could dream big and fulfil their potential.