Community champion is chosen for Unsung Hero award
Pat Minnock was a worthy recipient of the second annual Unsung Hero of Offaly award.
As well as being a key player in many local voluntary groups Pat works "below the radar" providing assistance and advice to people in his local community.
Pat is rightly regarded as the community champion par excellence in his adopted Cappincur area.
Always affable and cheerful Pat grew up on a mixed farm at the Derries in Rahan but moved to Cappincur when he married Rose Finlay, from Clonmore.
The happy couple reared seven children, five boys and two girls, all of whom are high achievers.
Pat now considers himself a naturalised Cappincur man and is deeply proud of the community spirit which is infectious in the area, much of it centred on the local GAA club and its recent successes on the playing field.
He worked for most of his career as a salesman with Readymix but is also a drystock farmer on his lands at Clonmore.
He joined Tullamore and District Lions Club in 1989 and credits his accession to the Lions club as the real start of his involvement in community work in the wider Tullamore area.
The Cappincur resident has been chairman of the Trobalgon holiday sub-committee of the Lions for over 30 years and they bring senior citizens from the region on a much needed holiday to the Munster resort annually.
He is also involved in a host of other projects with the Lions Club including the Hooves4Hospice campaign which aims to provide a hospice for the four Midland counties.
Pat's work with the Lourdes Invalid Fund stretches back to 1982 and he has travelled to the French Marian Shrine on 33 occasions in total with other volunteers from the Diocese of Meath.
Pat assists with the care of the sick and disabled pilgrims who travel from the Diocese to Lourdes and fulfills a number of different roles.
Pat is also involved on the finance committee of Daingean parish and in fundraising for Tullamore parish funds.
The youthful seventy-something has also climbed Croagh Patrick on 21 occasions, no less than ten of which were completed in his bare feet.
Pat is also involved with Cappincur Hall Committee, Cappincur Community Alert and Cappincur Cemetery Committee and has also found time to donate over 120 pints of blood to the Blood Transfusion Board.
Outside of his formal volunteerism, Pat helps individuals in his local community in a bid to combat the effects of rural isolation, particularly among the elderly.
While the formal aspect of Pat’s voluntary work is well known throughout Offaly, what may not be as well recognised but is equally worthwhile, is the number of elderly people he helps out on a daily basis in a private capacity. He carries people who have no means of transport to appointments in Galway and Dublin hospitals and will not take any compensation for diesel or his own time.
He also checks in on a number of elderly people, helping them with such chores as bringing in turf, lighting fires, collecting messages, filling out forms and paying bills which these people find invaluable.
Despite his busy workload, Pat also finds time to pursue his hobby of restoring and exhibiting vintage cars and tractors.
Now in his 70s, though with a fitness and enthusiasm of someone two decades younger, Pat looks forward to many more years serving his local community.