Ballinasloe’s Maureen Cahalan refused to let the grief and sadness after the loss of her husband in 2001 define the rest of her life. Instead she decided to make a positive difference within her community of Ballinasloe.It has culminated in Maureen Cahalan winning the Ballinasloe Social and Community Mayoral Award for 2012 for her work as secretary of Community Hearts.
In presenting the award Ballinasloe's Mayor Mike Kelly said Maureen had made a significant difference to her community.
“She has inspired, enriched and indeed restored our faith in our community by giving some and then giving more of herself,” Mayor Kelly said.
“The unconditional work carried out by Community Hearts, which has touched so many lives, has been a labour of love for Maureen.”
A recipient of Maureen's work said “she is the type of person that every single community in Ireland would love to have in their midst.”
Alhtough Maureen lives in south Roscommon and works in east Galway, she always had the interest of the greater community at heart.
Community Hearts is now a template for numerous other communities to copy. Under her stewardship she has initiated the annual 'Bal Walk' which supports local charities. The Ballinasloe 'Literary Day' along with Heritage Talks is now on the town's annual social calendar.
Close to Maureen's heart is the Hope and Healing service which takes place every autumn in St Michael's Church, remembering family, friends and colleagues who have lost a loved one through tragic circumstances. Maureen also gives talks on positive living and life after bereavement in hospitals, communities, and prisons. She also delivers creative writing workshops in local schools and start your own business seminars to female prisoners in the Mountjoy prison facility.
Maureen is also acknowledged for the Ballinasloe Christmas market promoting local crafts, artists and produce which she established in 2010. She penned her first novel A Note to Self in 2011 which is a personal journey on life after bereavement.
Mayor Mike Kelly said he was delighted to present Maureen with the 2012 Social & Community award because of her unwavering support and initiative in helping so many within the community.
“ She is well deserving of it and a great lady to know and to have in Ballinasloe Community area.”