Tractors drive home importance of mental health
JOHN Sheehan’s ambition of seeing a line of tractors make its way slowly through the Killenleigh, Teernihilta, and New Chapel countryside as dawn broke over south Kerry brings to an end his own personal journey.
But what he could never have imagined was the sheer size of the cavalcade as close to 100 tractors started to gather at Foilmore Community Centre before first light on Sunday last – all with the aim of raising money for Reask and Valentia Wards at University Hospital Kerry.
The tractors set off at 6.50am and returned again just before 9am. John had his own brush with depression last year and admits he was guilty of closing ranks when it came to talking about how low he felt.
He described the support on the day as ‘just amazing’ but what really made it special was that it got so many people talking about their own mental health, something John believes is still needlessly being bottled-up by people.
“Sunday’s event helped break down the facade and while I’m pleased we managed to raise some money, talking about it is far more rewarding,” said John.
“On one particular stretch of the road, near Dromid, there’s a bend and to see the line of tractors moving along with flashing lights in the dawn was just amazing. I was delighted that so many people supported the event,”
The Dromid man was quick to praise everyone who helped make the day possible, people like Dan Tim O’Sullivan for providing his yard for the tractors, the community centre for hosting the huge crowds, the sponsors for their generosity, and all those who provided food and refreshments.
Family is number one to John and he said without the support from his wife Mary this event just would not have been possible.
“Mary has helped me every step of the way and she was the driving force behind organising the event. Farm- ing can be a tricky job as a person can spent most of the day without ever seeing a person, let alone talk to someone.
The fact we spent most of Sunday talking about positive mental health can only be a good thing. Even the work involved in getting the tractors to Foilmore so early was an achievement in itself. I couldn’t thank people enough,” John said.
John now hopes to make The Sunrise Tractor Run an annual event.
John Sheehan & his wife Mary with the tractor drivers and helpers after completing their early morning Tractor Run.
RIGHT: The Sunrise Tractor Run makes its way through the streets of Cahersiveen.