Michael Taft – Great Island Hero

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Congratulations to Michael Taft who is the Eurospar Ireland Cobh & Cobh News Great Island Hero Award winner for November 2020 in association with Great Island Media

The members of Cobh Fishermans rowing club (past members) would like to put forward a nomination for the Great Island Hero Awards.

We’d like to nominate Michael Taft – I’ve attached a few paragraphs on why we’d like to nominate him. He’s been having a pretty rough time of it recently and we’d really like to give him a boost by reminding him of the impact he’s had on so many lives. He really is one in a million and deserves this award so much.

“Champion – A person who vigorously supports or defends a person or a cause.”
This is just one definition of the word, but when I think of Michael Taft, this is the exact word and the exact meaning that springs to mind. No one person supported so many as vigorously as he did.
I joined the local rowing club as an awkward 8 year old and it’s because of Mickey that I was still there 10 years later. When I wasn’t rowing, I was thinking about rowing and that had everything to do with the kind of club that it was – thanks in no small part to that one man. He devoted his time and attention to the kids of Cobh. It didn’t matter who they were, or whether they were considered to be on the rails or off, Mickey had equal time for all. He gave discipline and respect, kicking butts when they needed to be kicked and then lifting us higher than we might ever have lifted ourselves.
His pre-race pep talks made us feel like we were already winners, as we took ourselves off to the start line and it was knowing that he was watching got us over the finish. When I think of “the leagues” where Mickey, like the Pied Piper, had every kid in town follow him to the promenade to cheer on the local derby and between races, he’d take himself off to the shop, returning with shopping bags, bulging with sweets or ice-creams at a time when money was what rich people had. In fact Mickey might be a millionaire today if it weren’t for those leagues and the fact that his trawler was in fact OUR trawler and main means of transportation, but the memories he created for a town full of kids make Michael Taft worth his weight in gold.
As adults now, we think of all the things that children need – to feel important; to feel valued; to feel like they can do anything and conquer the world! That’s what Michael Taft gave to the kids and teens of Cobh and he gave it in abundance. He created something very very special and made us all a part of it. If he isn’t the very definition of a CHAMPION then I don’t know who is.
He was and still is a hero to all who passed through that club, and there was many. For one man to impact so many lives in such a positive way, is nothing short of heroic.


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