1999-07-29 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

Let’s celebrate Irish culture and tradition.
Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey





The eighteenth annual Irish Festival in the Rockaways brought everyone together. It comes at a time when the country is focused on things that are Irish because of the untimely and tragic death of John F. Kennedy, jr., his wife and her sister. People look at the Kennedy's and wonder how they can weather so many tragedies and continue despite these adversities.

Part of the answer lies in the Irish tradition which plays such a
dominant role in the Kennedy family. The main factors are strong religious roots and close family ties. The Kennedy family itself stands for that powerful mix of youth, star quality and idealism. It is these ingredients that make-up the whole ideal of Camelot. There is no question in anyone’s mind that John Kennedy himself also possessed unique qualities. He was an everyday person who was easy to meet, had personal warmth, humor and charisma. In addition, he had an
interest in politics, which exhibited itself in the magazine "George".
Many people of Irish descent have played significant roles in political
circles in America.

At the Irish festival we had the opportunity to honor the Irish and
everyone at the Irish festival who wanted to be Irish for that occasion.
Congressman Anthony Weiner, our representative in the 9th Congressional District was the Grand Marshal. In his remarks Congressman Weiner noted that the 9th Congressional District has one of the largest concentrations of Irish Americans of any Congressional District. He looks forward to Ireland being independent, peaceful and free. Frank Harnischer was honored by Dan Turbidy, the President of the Irish
Festival for his community efforts. Dan noted that Frank has been a beacon and is one of Dan's heros. Congressman Weiner presented him with a Congressional Proclamation commemorating his outstanding work.

Bobbi Hart another honoree was congratulated for her efforts as a
leader in the Rockaway Beach Civic Association. In her remarks she gave
the crowd an Irish blessing "May the devil take your troubles and may you
have the luck of the Irish." Congressman Weiner presented her with a proclamation.

Walter Rogers and the newest Rockaway Rockie, his 3 and a half year old son were the recipient of the award for the Rockaway Rockies. They were saluted for their commitment to the community.

Marina Callahan with her usual graciousness welcomed everyone to
the festival. Marina has done a wonderful job in chairing the festival for
so many years. The monies collected have gone to help people in our
community who are in need. In attendance also were Kevin Buckley - Director of Gateway National Park,
Harry McGirk-a founder of the festival, Johnny Joyner - representing
Senator Al Walton, Rosemary Murray - Chair of Planning Board 14, Delores Orr - President of Rockaway Beach Civic, Melinda Katz - representing Boro President Claire Schulman, Jack King - President of the Belle Harbor Property Owners, Barbara Morris - President of the Rockaway Rotary, Janet Fash - the President of the Rockaway Action Committee and Steve Cooper - President of the Frank Avenue Civic Association.

Everyone had a great time.



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