2002-02-23 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

The First Annual James Conway Sullivan Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee Gala at Antun's last Saturday night was indeed an unprecedented success. A throng of nearly six hundred guests attended the Black Tie Ball to fete our distinguished roster of honorees who will proudly march in our 27th annual parade through Rockaway. To a rousing standing ovation, Rosemary Sullivan and her daughter Rosemary Sullivan Murphy led the procession of parade committee members, dignitaries, and honorees as they made their debut. The heartfelt applause seemed to last for an eternity.

Father Devine, in his Convocation, expressed his prayers for our Parade ounder James Conway Sullivan, the Sullivan family, Chairman Mike Benn, and the entire parade committee. There was a moment of silence in remembrance of Jimmy. Father's soothing words were a comfort to me personally. His prayers, blessings, and remarks set the tone of the entire evening and reminded us that this was a celebration of all the Herculean qualities that the Irish are so noted for. Jimmy was indeed the embodiment of many of these wonderful qualities.

I feel our Grand Marshals, John Greaney, President of Carpenter's Union Local 608, and Mary McGuinness, Founding President L.A.O.H. Division19, as do each of our Honorary and Deputy Grand Marshals, exemplify this standard of excellence. John Greaney, in his remarks remembered Jimmy as a brother of 608; a man who respected and understood that the core of the Labor movement, the union cause, was deeply at heart of the Irish cause and founded by hard working Irish who were the foundation of this country.

Mary McGuinness graciously thanked the committee for her selection as our Female Grand Marshal. I had a chance to chat with her and found her to be such an extraordinary woman. She just impressed me so with her genuine warmth and humility. Although she is such an accomplished woman who has rendered so much of her life to her culture and civic endeavors, she seemed to wonder why there was such a fuss made about her! The Irish are doers!

They very seldom feel comfortable with all the accolades; yet this lady is
certainly most deserving of them.

New York Parade Committee Chairman John DunLeavy, in his remarks, also paid tribute to Jimmy and his unparalleled efforts and realized dream of creating the second largest parade in New York State. He fondly spoke of his long relationship with Jimmy over the years.

Among the dignitaries and invited guests were State Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Regent Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey, Democratic District Leader Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader Lew M. Simon, and former Grand Marshals Michael Forde, Jack Ahern, President of Local 30; Cathy Miceli, Secretary Fifth Avenue Parade; Mae O'Driscoll , President Co. Cork Association; Rosemary Lombard, President United Irish Counties; and Maurice Leary, DEP Director District Council. Dr. Geraldine Chapey looked stunning as she presented our Irishman of the Year Award to Timothy Dufficy who accepted the Award on behalf of Congressman Tom Manton. Timothy Dufficy, a distinguished Attorney from Breezy Point, is seeking the Democratic Judicial seat in the 5th District which represents Rockaway. Timothy is the son of Judge Ann Dufficy, who is the Democratic State Committeewoman of the 38th Assembly District.

Timothy Dufficy will make a fine Judge who will serve our community well.

The real highlight of the evening of course was certainly our Honorary Grand Marshals of the FDNY, PDNY, and EMS for whom, along with James Conway Sullivan this parade 2002 is dedicated. Representing the FDNY are Battalion Chief Thomas Murphy-Battalion 47, Thomas Touhey-Marine 6, Michael Moran-Ladder 3, George Johnson-Ladder 157, Jerard Warnock-Engine 264. Gregory Ruggiero-Engine 328, Jeffrey James-Ladder 134, William Nolan-Engine 265, Kevin Shannon-Ladder 121, Michael J. Hynes-Engine 266,Albert Loyola- Engine 329, Thomas Reilly-Engine 268, Brendan Savage-Ladder 137, and James T. Foley-Paramedic. Representing the EMS are Robert McCracken Jr., Kevin Morrone, and Eric Rasmussen. Representing the NYPD are PO Michael O'Connor-101 Precinct, PO Edward Smith-101 Precinct, PO Martin Halligan- 100 Precinct, and PO Megan Pryor- 100 Precinct. The Volunteer Fire Departments will be represented by Christopher Kalisak- Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department, Richard Leib- Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department, and John Mulvanerty- Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department.

Mrs. Nadia Murphy, the lovely wife of Batallion Chief Tom Murphy, expressed how much this honor means to the FDNY and how proud they are to march with us in the parade.

I must express my personal gratitude to our Parade Chairman Michael Benn who has been bequeathed the scepter of this glorious parade. Under his stewardship, Jimmy's legacy will continue to live on. Congratulations to Mike, his lovely wife Chris who worked so hard as Dinner Dance Chairwoman to ensure a successful evening, my friend Kathryn Kash who announced the program, and the entire parade committee. It was an affair to remember!

***Congratulations to my dear friend Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey and her mother Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey as they will be honored at the New York Families For Autistic Children's Fourth Annual Dinner Dance at Russo's On The Bay on Thursday February 28 at 7:30 pm. Hon. Borough President Helen Marshall is the Dinner Dance Chairwoman. Also being honored are Lee Grossman, President, Autism Society of America; Gavin Saladini, President Technoserf Interactive; Sandy Levine, Executive Director, Autism Foundation of New York; Hon. Mark Weprin, New York State Assembly Member. Tickets are $75 per person.

***My thoughts this week are with Susan Locke and the entire Wave family as this week marks the first anniversary of Wave Publisher Leon Locke's passing. He is so missed.
***Happy Birthday wishes to Glen Mead!

See you....On the Beach!

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