And the Honorees Are

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A parade wouldn’t be complete without honorees. Several will be marching in the 42nd Annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 4. Many were honored by parade president Michael Benn at the Installation Gala held at Antun’s on February 18. Here’s a run-down of this year’s honorees.

Grand Marshal is William (Bill) Lynn, the Business Manager for International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 30. Lynn was born in the Bronx to parents, James and Bridget Lynn, who emigrated from County Mayo, Ireland. He currently resides in Bethpage, LI with his wife, Susan and four kids. Lynn joined the IUOE Local 30 apprentice program in 1990, hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Stationary Engineer. He moved up the ranks to Shop Steward, Dispatcher, Lead Organizer, Recording-Corresponding Secretary and then Business Manager and Financial Secretary, for the union, a position he’s held since 2014. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the IUOE Local 30 Benefit Funds, and represents Local 30 and labor on numerous committees and boards as an Officer and a Delegate.

Gael of the Year is Michael Clarke Jr. Clarke’s Irish roots go back to County Louth, Ireland. He grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn and currently lives in Long Beach with his wife, Connie, and his two kids. Following in his father’s footsteps, Clarke started as a union operating engineer in Local 94 and went on to work for Turner Construction Company for 12 years. He then worked at Structure Tone as a Senior Project Manager, and was later hired by Reidy Construction Group as a Project Executive. Clarke now owns his own company, JC Elite. He was also a co-owner of a Park Slope restaurant, a member of the Hudson River Yacht Club and was President of his local Knights of Columbus.

This year’s Honorary Grand Marshals are Betty McLoughlin and Sean Lane. McLoughlin comes from County Mayo and now lives in Bayside. McLoughlin spent many years working for the Board of Education, retiring in 2008. Betty is very active in the Irish American Society, for which she is president. McLoughlin is very active in her church, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament in Bayside, where she served as President of the Rosary Altar Society and runs the annual St. Patrick’s Day Dance.  She’s also Vice President of the Mayo Society and is a member of the AOH Division 29 in Manhattan. She was named as Mayo woman of the year in 2010 and Grand Marshal of The Irish American Society’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Mineola in 2012. She was also honored by the Queens AOH in 2014 and was chosen by the Diocese of Brooklyn Catholic Migration for The Shining Star Award in 2014.

Sean Lane is a Senior Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley who spent time living in Galway until 1993. He currently lives in Garden City with his wife, Cielo, and their two children.  Lane has been very active in the Irish community. He is Vice Chairman of the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Foundation. He is also on the advisory board of the 69th Regimental Trust, the Irish National Theatre, the Galway University Foundation, and the leadership circle for the Northwell Health Department of Medicine. Since 2011, he has been honored each year as one of the 50 most prominent Irish Americans on Wall Street by Irish America Magazine.

There are several Deputy Grand Marshals this year, including many from the local community. This year’s Deputies including Msgr. John Bracken, Mary Forde, Dan Reed, Jimmy McGovern, Joanne Fogarty, John Manning, Kieran Toale, Chris Dalton, LT. Ed Strohm, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, Eileen Meakim, Mary Kay Gibbons, Robert Palmer, and the late Andrew Israel.

Many know Msgr. Bracken from St. Francis de Sales, where he has been Administrator since  January 2014. He has been a priest since 1967.  Forde is very active in several local groups including the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH) Division 25, which she has been treasurer of since 2009. In 2013, she was elected the Queens' County LAOH Treasurer, as well. For the past two years, she has also been the corresponding secretary for the Queen's County St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee.

Reed, of Rockaway, is active in the local Knights of Columbus and has served as an officer for AOH Division 21 for more than six years. McGovern spent time living in Rockaway and has worked for the Department of Sanitation for more than two decades, and he was vital in leading the post-Hurricane Sandy cleanup as Deputy Chief. McGovern has also volunteered for the Rockaway Rockies hockey program for 20 years.

Fogarty, of Rockaway Point, has been active in the community through tutoring and mentoring at-risk children, coaching sports teams and serving as president of the Rockaway Point Association since 2012. Manning, of Breezy Point, is a longtime member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and was instrumental in bringing back the successful Rockaway/ Breezy Point Irish Festival in 2013. Toale, a native of Co. Armagh, has long been involved with Gaelic Football, having played for teams in Ireland before moving to New York in 1999. He currently coaches teams for the Shannon Gaels and works at Bellevue Hospital.

Many know Dalton as co-owner of the former Dalton’s Seaside Grill, which was one of the first businesses to re-open after Sandy to help those in need. He’s also an active member of the Knights of Columbus. Strohm serves as a lieutenant for the NYC Court Officers. Pheffer Amato is a lifelong Rockaway resident. She co-owns Elegante, has long been active in civic groups and she became Assemblywoman this year. Meakim is vice president of the Catholic Teachers Association. Gibbons is a Registered Nurse at The Scholars’ Academy and the Guild for Exceptional Children, as well as a member of the Annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee and the Galway Association. Rockaway resident Robert Palmer is a longtime player for the Rockaway Rugby Fishheads and now coaches the youth rugby teams. Israel helped start the Rockaway Fishheads Youth Rugby team. He is being honored posthumously. Israel passed away in August 2016.

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