I’d like to thank the Charitable Irish Society for the wonderful Silver Key Award celebration on the evening of November 29th. It was an enjoyable, relaxed, and inspiring gathering in the beautiful Boston College Club, overlooking the Downtown city lights.

I thank the Society for their excellent choice of honorees, whose stories remind us all what “giving back” really means. This year’s award recipients were Lynn Finn, Connell & Siobhan Gallagher, and Mary E. Kelleher and Kevin Leary.

I had the privilege and pleasure of presenting awards to Lynn, Connell, and Siobhan and would like to share their achievements with you.

Lynn Finn, married to Joe with four children and eight grandchildren, is a life-long nurse. She has managed to juggle the responsibilities of home and family with a strong commitment to organizing and providing healthcare for the vulnerable elderly and new immigrants.

Lynn leads a team of volunteers who provide services at the IIIC in a confidential and compassionate environment. Her Irish grandmother’s immigrant experience and values of giving back helped Lynn find her vocation. Like many nurses, she is not concerned with monetary gain. It is more important to her that those who feel they have nowhere else to turn will seek help.

Through Lynn and her team, lives have been saved! She is one the IIIC’s “unsung exceptional volunteers” whom we continue to be inspired by and who continues to share professional advice and a reassuring presence. Lynn is a delight. It is invigorating to work with someone so dedicated and passionate and we are pleased that her good work has been recognized!

Connell and Siobhan Gallagher have been great friends of IIIC since their arrival in Boston in 1991. Siobhan served as Treasurer on our Board and Connell volunteered countless hours sorting out computer problems.
When they brought Liam Ferrie’s Irish Emigrant to Boston in the early 1990’s, they filled an enormous need. It served as a lifeline to many of the 30,000 undocumented Irish in Massachusetts. The paper offered a chance to catch up on news from home and check sports results, long before widespread internet access.
It was also a vehicle for Irish and Irish American organizations like the Irish Pastoral Center, Irish International Immigrant Center, Irish Cultural Centre, and Boston GAA clubs to the communicate with the Irish across Massachusetts. Connell and Siobhan never hesitated when someone asked for their help, donating time and ad space to countless causes and benefits for the Irish community.

Connell and Siobhan worked endless hours, and as their three children grew, they too had a role in it, a family expression of honoring their heritage. The Emigrant was not just a livelihood for them; it was their gift to their community. We are forever grateful.