Saturday, October 23, 2021

Rotary Awards Unsung Hero to Eileen Hegarty

The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise presented its Unsung Hero Award for Second Quarter, 2019 to Eileen Hegarty. Eileen is recognized for her service to the Marco Island community and placing “service above self “consistent with Rotary’s aspirations.

Eileen is compassionate, patient, loyal, committed, positive, humble and consistent. These are words that describe Eileen and one who depicts the definition of an unsung hero. Eileen is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst for O’Connell Behavioral Services where she works with children with special needs. She puts in extra time away from the office to assist parents during hours of need, and goes above and beyond to ensure that each client is getting the best possible therapy possible.

Eileen helps children and their families with a variety of special needs. She helps children communicate who otherwise have varying degrees of a limited ability to communicate; some children are lower functioning, non-verbal. She helps the children find their voices through one on one attention, using visual supports that help the children make requests and share thoughts by touching pictures and then (for some eventually) producing the words. Non-verbal children are able to communicate what they want or need.

She helps children with behavioral problems that often have difficulty adjusting from different activities or situations throughout the day. Eileen assesses what triggers a child’s undesirable behavior and helps the child redirect the behavior and make better choices. She also works with the families to accomplish the same goal: identify the triggers and redirect the maladaptive behaviors to acceptable behaviors.

As Sunrise Rotary’s Unsung Hero, Eileen was awarded a plaque commemorating the recognition. In addition, the Club donated $100 to Eileen’s chosen charity, Shaping Masterpieces and 20 polio vaccines in her name as part of Rotary International’s effort to eradicate polio.

The Unsung Hero award recognizes a member of the Marco Island community who unselfishly helps others and who has not generally been recognized for such service.

Sunrise Rotary continues its search for Unsung Heroes and asks that anyone wishing to nominate an Unsung Hero please contact Chairman Bill Morris at or visit the Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise website at

Submitted Photo| From left: Neil Snyder, Bill Morris, Eileen Hegarty and Thomas Mann.

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