We would like to wish Bernie Johnston of Ardrew Meadows Athy the very best of luck as she is moving back home. Bernie who has been a vital member in Ardrew resident’s association for numerous years. Bernie has given so much of her valuable time and effort to the community of Athy and Ardrew Meadows.

Our County Kildare Leader Partnership, community development workers have known Bernie for many years and the key role she plays in the community. She has always gone above and beyond to help everyone in the area. Whether its leaving leaflets in everyone doors,  inform them of an upcoming course to rallying people around to come to an information talk or social group. The time Bernie and other volunteers give are worth their weight in gold.

She shares her time and talents without any compensation or need for recognition. Bernie always have the community building open and ready to be used, kettle on and chairs ready for whoever was using the building. She was always only a call away if you had any questions or needed clarification.

From a walk-in group to a walking group to smelling aromatherapy oils to flower arranging to litter picking,  Bernie was always there with a kind and friendly welcoming smile. She is a true Community Leader who is always quietly beyond the scenes organising different projects in the area. An example of this is the Bug Hotel that brings a lot of joy to the children of the estate.  During Covid she distributed Face masks to elderly in the estate and activity packs to children in the area.

It would not be fair to mention Bernie,  without her two sidekicks Anna …….and Jack the dog,  Bernie was rarely seen without them by her side. Her sidekicks brought great joy to the walking group each week and will be missed. While our community worker always brought the cake and biscuits for after the walk – Bernie always balanced it with bringing fresh apples and watermelon.

A Community Leader is described as having qualities such as empathy, honesty, dedication, team player, motivation and eager to learn and adapt. It is true to say Bernie has all those qualities and many more.

From the County Kildare LEADER Partnership  Community Development Team, we cannot thank you enough for all your help over the years and wish you and Jack all the best.

(c) Nicola Hogarty