The Dublin Irish Festival announced the winners of the 2013 Best of Fest Awards given to those volunteers who distinguish themselves by their dedication to the Festival. This group of volunteers was nominated by their peers, City of Dublin staff and Festival guests.
Leadership Award: Mark McGuire
Mark has been a fixture on the Dublin Irish Festival team for more than 10 years serving primarily as member of the Vendor Liaison/Marketplace Committee. He assists prior to, during and after the event, focusing on details that make a difference including signage, vendors and Sunday Services. His demeanor and skills make him the perfect liaison to represent the quality of the Dublin Irish Festival and the pride with which it is produced. Mark’s nominator said of him, “His work is high quality — very professional. He always has a positive attitude and outlook.”
Adult Event Award: Melissa Ross
When more than 1,200 volunteers – most of whom are individually assigned with massively different schedules and needs — stop to check in to a central volunteer headquarters station, it takes more than a check mark or click of a mouse to set them up to succeed. Luckily, Volunteer Headquarters had Melissa Ross on its team to help the Festival to prepare weeks in advance, selflessly sharing her knowledge that would make this year the smoothest one yet. No stranger to adventure (she skydives, zip-lines, and whitewater rafts, for example), this professional transportation coordinator even recruits her own co-workers and pals to help.
Youth Event Award: Ana Chirakos
When you’re a teenager, saying that you have eight years of experience volunteering with one event is a big deal. And people have noticed that Ana Chirakos is a big deal, too. She has never missed a year of the Festival and looks forward to it with great pride. “Dublin is such an awesome community,” she says, “I just want to keep giving back to it.” Although she has held many volunteer positions over the years, in 2013 she was a shining example in the Celtic Canteen, assisting “Chef Tim” and his team’s remarkable hospitality. Her nominator said of her, “She is one of those teens who represent a true giving spirit filled with community pride.” Ana is a senior at Dublin Coffman High School and plans to attend college in the fall of 2014 to study medical science.
Family Award: The Ganger Family
The Dublin Irish Festival is honored to be an event that welcomes family involvement and the Ganger Family is a shining example of that. In 2013, Ryan Ganger stepped forward to serve as co-chair of the Dub Club, a relatively new but growing area. His enthusiasm and “leadership by example” was contagious. His father, Kevin and other members of his family have volunteered for many years to put their Irish spirit into action, but this year more than any other, as their nominee said, “They are united as a family and as a giving force.”