22 September 2011

First Irish Heritage Certificate Awarded to 9/11 Hero

The Wild Geese Collection has been established to celebrate the Diaspora that has stretched from Ireland to all corners of the earth. Since 1691, Irish men and woman have left their home and faced new challenges. They have wielded together an ongoing story of courage and diversity.

This week, the first Certificate of Irish Heritage has been awarded posthumously Joseph Hunter - a New York City fireman who worked hard to save people from the South Tower of the 9/11 attacks.

Joseph Hunter was last seen heading towards the South Tower with Squad 288 from Queens, New York City. He epitomises the strength and courage of Men of Action.

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, presented the Certificate to Joseph's family at Maspeth Fire Station in Queens:

Joseph Hunter's heroic story featured in an RTE radio documentary called 'Still Waiting for Joe', which was broadcast toward the end of August. After listening to this radio show, it was decided that Joesph Hunter become the first recipient of the Certificate of Irish Heritage. 

- Joseph's mother, Bridget speaking at the ceremony.

The certificate was first suggested by Ireland's Ambassador to Washington Michael Collins as means to strengthen the relationships between Ireland and some 70 million people of Irish descent in the world.

Michael Collins speaking in 2009

Ireland has always recognised its descendants and The Wild Geese Collection regularly celebrates the remarkable achievements of Wild Geese all over the world. For many, this certificate will officially symbolise their ancestry and remind them of the intrepid story that are a part of. 

From the end of September, will start issuing the certificates to the public. Each Certificate costs $60 and must be verified by at least one ancestor from Ireland.

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