It’s Parade Time! And This Year’s Honorees Are...

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In honor of their exemplary leadership roles and positive impact on their communities, the 43rd Annual Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee has chosen a great group of honorees, with Patrick Dolan, Jr. leading the way as grand marshal.

The honorees were celebrated at the Antun’s Gala Installation Ball on February 17 and on Saturday, March 1, they’ll be marching in the parade, which kicks off at 1 p.m. from Beach 129th Street.

Dolan, president of Enterprise Association of Steamfitters Local Union 638, began his career in the steamfitters union as an apprentice in 1987 and worked his way up. He served on the finance board for three years, followed by a six-year term on the 638 Executive Board. In 2004, he served as business agent until his election as president of the union in February of 2011. Currently as president, Dolan serves as chairman of the Steamfitters Industry Trust Funds. This encompasses the pension, medical, security benefit, educational and vacation funds of the union and includes 12 union trustees. Dolan is also chairman of the Political Action Committee of Local 638. 

Dolan was elected vice-president of District One by his international union. He’s a seated executive board member of the Long Island Federation of Labor and member of several councils such as the New York City Central Labor Council, New York State AFL-CIO, New York City Building and Construction Trades Council and Nassau and Suffolk Building Trades Council.  Dolan is also a member of the New York City Masters Plumbers and Master Fire Suppression Piping Contractors Licensing Board, Town of Hempstead Labor Advisory Council and is the director of the Outreach Program and director of The Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills, Inc.

Even though a resident of Maspeth, Dolan holds Rockaway close to his heart. “Rockaway is a very special place to me. Growing up in Middle Village, Rockaway was the place that I spent my summers. My friends and I spent all our days on 116th Street. Then we would stop at the Bow Wow or Pizza City on our way home. I attended St. Margaret’s grammar school. We could never beat St. Francis De Sales in basketball. I then became a referee. I used to love refereeing the St. Francis De Sales Christmas Tournament and Summer Classics. I have great memories of my time in Rockaway. It is truly an honor to be this year’s grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” Dolan said.

Gael of the Year is Brian E. McCabe chairman of the American Irish Historical Society and former NYPD detective and commander. McCabe comes from a large Irish-American family with a distinguished history of service in the political, legal education and cultural life of New York.  In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, McCabe served in the Irish-American response to the disaster by providing volunteer workers, supplies and relief to affected areas including Rockaway and Breezy Point. He is currently a system director with Bon Secours Charity Health System and a consultant in investigative and security operations.  McCabe is married to Joan and is the father of five children. 

This year’s Honorary Grand Marshals are Rockaway resident, Michael McMahon, and Deirdre Feerick. Michael McMahon was in County Meath, Ireland, to parents Patrick McMahon of Kilvine, Irishtown Co Mayo and Nora McMahon of County Mayo.  He was the eldest of eight children and grew up on a dairy farm, where he learned the value of hard work. Despite being prosperous as a printing business owner in Ireland, McMahon decided to come to America at 23 years old, where he started working behind the stick at his cousin, Jerry Fitzgerald’s bar, Ashford Arm’s pub on Flatbush Avenue.  McMahon then got into the construction trade. In October 1991, McMahon met his wife Karen and in 1997 they got married in Ireland. The pair raised their three kids in Marine Park before moving to Belle Harbor in 2010.

Not far from McMahon’s first bartending job, they opened their first pub, McMahon’s Irish Pub, soon followed by their second, Kevin Ryan’s, named after their sons. These paved the way for McMahon’s Public House in Brooklyn and taking over Rogers in Rockaway.

Honorary Grand Marshal, Deirdre Feerick, is the daughter of an NYPD detective (and later Teamster 817) and a registered nurse. Raised in Long Island City and Sunnyside, Queens, she graduated from Dominican Academy, then went on to SUNY Albany and then Brooklyn Law School.

Feerick began her professional career in government at the Oversight and Investigations Unit at the NY City Council.  She then served as counsel to the legislative division of the NYC Council where she helped craft legislation to protect the most vulnerable, including domestic violence survivors and children.  Later, she was appointed counsel and deputy director of the Administrative Services Division of the NYC Council. 

Following Superstorm San­dy, Feerick was appointed Queens borough coordinator for recovery for NYC covering Breezy Point, Rockaway and Broad Channel. Today she is the senior director of the legal department at the Transport Workers Union of America Local 100, the same organization both her grandfathers had been members of as well.

The deputy grand marshals this year include Noreen Ellis, Matt Glynn, Fr. William Sweeney and Robert Zimmer, Bridget Rush Hernandez, Major John Allen, Daniel Donovan, John Rocco, Frank O’Keefe, Michael Foley, Sean Halligan, Lt. Col Raymond Lamboy, and Peter Calandra.

Noreen Ellis is an active member of the community, serving as a member of Community Board 14, president of Rockaway Civic Association and board member of the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Cultural Committee. She lives in Rockaway with her husband Stephen (FDNY ret.) and they have two children. Professionally, Ellis is an administrative officer in a real estate mezzanine fund.

Matt Glynn, a proud Rockaway resident since 1982, is very active in the St. Francis de Sales community where his two children attend school. Glynn volunteers as a CYO basketball coach, a baseball coach for Rockaway Little league and occasionally plays guitar with the folk group at mass on Sundays. Glynn is being honored for his work in the Rockaway community and the Rockaway Rovers Gaelic football team, which his sons, Matthew and Peter are members. He also serves as financial secretary for the Queens county Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and recording secretary for AOH Division 21.

Father Bill Sweeney, the second son of William F. and Mary Frances Regan, was born in Astoria. Since being ordained as a priest by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero on May 1, 1981, Father Bill has served in many churches and Catholic schools, including Stella Maris High School and currently as pastor at St. Francis de Sales.

Robert Zimmer, a lifelong Rockaway resident, is an active member of the Graybeards and the Rockaway Civic Association. Zimmer, a father of three, lives with his wife, Kathy, in Rockaway Park, but can usually be found somewhere on the beach or at his summer Bungalow on Beach 109th.

Bridget Rush-Hernandez was born and raised in Rockaway and has been quite active in the Irish American community. She joined the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 25 in 2006 and was elected president of the organization in 2008. She also became a presence in the LAOH of Queens County. She served on the Queens County Board as Irish Historian and took on the presidency of Queens County in 2012. She currently serves as Queens County Vice President.

Court Officer and Rockaway native, Jack Allen lives with his wife, Jessica and five kids in Broad Channel. He’s active in the Broad Channel Athletic Club, having served as a coach and president, and is currently on the board. He is also a Major and Commanding Officer for the New York County Criminal Court.

Daniel Donovan has been a member of AOH Division 3 in Bronx County for more than 30 years. He served as president of the organization twice, and runs the group’s successful golf outing fundraiser each year. John Rocco, a Queens native, serves as Vice President of Operations and Accreditations at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. Frank O’Keefe worked for the Department of Sanitation for 23 years before retiring as General Superintendent in 2013. He was active in the DSNY Emerald Society and remains as a board member and he spent several years marching with the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums band as a tenor drummer. He also serves as president of the Gran Council of United Emerald Societies.

Michael Foley is an active member of AOH Division 21 and serves as the AOH Chairman of the Standing Committee in Queens County. He also serves on the committee for the Rockaway Irish Festival. Sean Halligan supports local youth sports and is a member of the AOH and the Belle Harbor Yacht Club. Pete Calandra is a dedicated Union Labor member and is the Senior Vice President and Director of Operations for PJ Mechanical Building Services Corp. LT. Col. Raymond Lamboy is a decorated member of the New York Army National Guard.

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