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James Conway Sullivan Memorial Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade:
Mayor Mike Bloomberg Marches
Saturday, March 2, 2002 was a perfect day for our 27th Annual James Conway Sullivan Memorial Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade. The Parade was renamed this year in honor of our parade founder and chairperson.
James Conway Sullivan was a man with a vision and the ability to have that vision become a reality. One of the founding members of the parade committee who worked closely with Jimmy - Carl Aliviado spoke at the parade breakfast at the Beach Club. He told of the numerous hours that were spent and the hard work that was required each year to have the parade in Rockaway become a reality. He spoke of Jimmy Sullivan's in- depth knowledge of Irish history and politics. Jimmy had a love of all things Irish and he wanted to share that with the community.
Jimmy Sullivan recognized the strong roots that the Irish had in politics and in labor unions. Jimmy reached out to enhance the role of the Irish by honoring political and union leaders. In his honor this year at the parade breakfast I had the opportunity to present the first James Conway Sullivan Gael of the Year Award to an outstanding Irish Congressman - Thomas Manton. Congressman Manton has had a stellar career of service to our City, State and Country. He has served with distinction as a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Attorney, an elected City Councilman, and an elected Congressman in the United States Congress. Congressman Manton is the leader of our Queens County Democratic Organization. Under his leadership our County organization is the best in the United States. Under Tom Manton's helm our Queens County Democratic group represents the highest ideals of our Democratic Party. Thanks to Tom Manton for his life time of dedicated service and we look forward to his continuing to lead us as we face and meet the challenges of the millennium.
The Honorable Timothy Dufficy had accepted the award for Congressman Manton at our dinner dance in February at Antun's. (Tim Dufficy comes from a family with a strong record of service. His mother has served as a Judge in the Queens Courts - Judge Ann Dufficy. Tim Dufficy has an excellent judicial temperament and we are looking forward to Tim following his mother to the bench). Tim Dufficy officially handed over the James Conway Sullivan Gael of the Year Award to Congressman Tom Manton.
Congressman Manton thanked us for the award. His parents were born in Ireland and gave him a love for Ireland and a love of the USA. Because his parents were immigrants he has a sincere understanding of the needs of the people of Queens. Congressman Manton told us that he is proud of his heritage and works for the rights of all people.
We are delighted that Congressman Manton accepted this award. He has an outstanding record of supporting and promoting Irish causes. He was an eloquent spokesperson for the Irish while he was in Congress and continues this important work.
At the parade breakfast, Rosemary Sullivan, Rosemary Murphy, John Murphy and Daniel Sullivan dedicated our new banner naming the parade the James Conway Sullivan Memorial Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade. Michael Benn, our parade chairman, thanked the Sullivan's for all the outstanding work that Jimmy had done for the Irish and for the community. He noted that we are proud to continue Jimmy Sullivan's legacy and to build on it.
Mike Benn has continued the parade tradition and expanded on it. Thanks to Mike Benn for chairing one of our best parades. He and his family are to be commended for their dedication. Mike Benn is a distinguished and energetic spokesperson for our parade. Owen Baxter, the Vice Chair of the Parade and his effervescent and gracious wife, Beverly, are tireless workers for the parade. Owen Baxter, a talented musician and recording artist started the parade with a magnificent rendition of the Irish National Anthem. The marching groups and the bands were excellent. Each honoree is to be applauded for their outstanding contributions to the Irish. The special tribute to the police, fire and EMS officers was to thank them for preserving our communities 24/7. A thank you also goes to our volunteer units. They are the lifeblood of our community.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg was proud to lead our parade. People along the parade route were telling him that now we know where he spends his weekends. Someone else called across from the reviewing group that the beaches in Rockaway are better than the beaches in Bermuda.
The 27th Annual James Conway Sullivan Memorial Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade was a huge success!
Mayor Bloomberg and Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey discuss issues important to the Rockaway's