2000-10-28 / Columnists

On The Beach…

On behalf of the Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee, I am delighted to announce the slate of honorees for our Parade 2001. Each year the committee of 50 members select and vote on those whom through the work of their lives have in some way distinguished themselves to the committee. Some have done so by their Herculean example of leadership in their endeavors, while others have enhanced the Irish community with their presence and for simply being who they are. Either way, they have caught our eye! Remarkably, the committee was unanimous in its selection! I'm sure you will agree! 

They are: Our Honorary Female Grand Marshal is Barbara J. Morris! The name says so much because this woman does so much. I don't think that there is an organization on this peninsula that hasn't been the beneficiary of Barbara's time, talent, and relentless dedication. She has rendered herself in various capacities to the Chamber of Commerce, the Saint
Patrick's Day Parade Committee, Rockaway Music and Arts Council, West End Ladies Auxillary of Peninsula Hospital, Community Planning Board 14, and former treasurer of the Claddagh INN. She has served as president of the Rockaway Rotary Club, the 100 Precinct Community Council, and the Columbiettes. In between these extraordinary activities, Barbara created and annually sponsors the Sand Castle Contest. With her keen sense of fun, Barbara entered and won Rockaway's first Old-Fashioned Bathing Beauty Contest!

Her passion for Rockaway goes back to her roots. She was born in the old Rockaway Beach Hospital and raised here.  She is married to her wonderful husband Dennis Morris and they have a daughter and three grandchildren.

With her West End Real Estate practice on Beach 116 street, she lives, works, and plays in Rockaway. For relaxation, Barbara likes to play 18 holes of golf, a sport she recently took up with the same fierce commitment she renders to every aspect of her life.

On Sundays she serves as usher at Saint Frances De Sales and every day of her life she strives for integrity, decency, and her unique sense of fairness. The committee is proud to bestow this honor on Barbara. It's certainly well-earned and long over-due.

While it is quite natural for me to write about Barbara Morris because I
consider her a dear friend, I may not be that acquainted with the personal lives of our other honorees. As I receive their biographies, I will write more about them individually.

Our Honorary Male Grand Marshall is Robert Spata, principal of the Gerald Dever Middle School 180. Mr. Spata has dedicated his life to Education, a field where many Irish have excelled. As the recent recipient of the 2000 New York State Principal of the Year Award, the committee chooses to recognise Mr. Spata and her work on behalf of our community's children.

Each year the Committee chooses to honor its Deputy Grand Marshals. Our compilation is a roster of individuals who have distinguished themselves in areas of education, civil service, civic activism, journalism, sports, and have enhanced her lives culturally and spiritually. There is little need for frivolity as they have made their mark on our community and their work speaks volumes for their dedication to the quality of our lives. They are:

John McLoughlin, editor of The Wave; Liz Sulik, president of the Chamber of Commerce; Mary Dever, educator; New York City Police Officer Hector Tello; Michael Shea, president of the Broad Channel Athletic Club; Father Casey of Saint Rose Parish; Roselle Sampol of the Petri School of Irish Step Dancing; Ellen Connolly of the Connolly Dance Center; Sean Kirby, proprietor of The
Raintower Pub; and civic activists Mary Alice Lane and Mary Rooney.

The Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee invites you to come out and celebrate our honorees at our first fete in their honor which will be held at The Beach Club on Sunday November 12 from 5 'til 9 p.m. Parade Committee President Michael A. Benn anticipates that this will be a sold out event and urges those interested in attending to contact the honorees. It will surely be a "great day for the Irish"!

Happy Birthday wishes to my friends Rosemary Sullivan Murphy and Kathryn Kash!


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