2003-01-25 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

The James Conway Sullivan Memorial Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee hosted its annual Hearts and Shamrocks Dance at Saint Camillus last Sunday and...what a great day it was! THIS is the tony event in Rockaway's Irish community and the most sought after ticket of the parade fundraising season. It is also the occasion where our honorees make their debut.

This year, our honorees hail from various fields that the Irish are so for noted to excel. They come from the heights of Labor, Civil Service, Medicine, Business, Journalism, Education, and Civic Activism. There is a profound thread of commonality between them. They are all leaders and champions either through the work of their lives or their dedication to their heritage and community. They are champions in their chosen endeavors. The parade committee is proud to bestow its recognition and highest honor upon them. Our Grand Marshall is James Cahill, International Representative of The United Association of Steamfitters and Plumbers; and our Female Grand Marshall is Tresse Smyth, renowned Radio Personality.

Our Honorary Grand Marshalls are Martin Kelly, New York State Chairman of the Ancient Order of Hibernians; and Frances Abbracciamento, who has had a distinguished political and civic career as well as her success as owner of the famed Abbracciamento's Restaurant. The James Conway Sullivan Gael Of The Year Award will go the amazing and much loved Jimmy Supple. We will celebrate the following as Deputy Grand Marshalls: Edward O'Grady, of Newmark Realty; Tom Hughes, of the Department of Sanitation; Barney Cassidy, of the Department of Corrections; Nadia Murphy, who has done so much to beautify our town with her work with the Belle Harbor Garden Club; Steve Stathis, though he is now "beardless", he is the President of The Graybeards Organization; James Kelly, of The Rockies; John Hennessey, Branch Manager of North Fork Bank; Mary O'Rourke, Head Nursing Supervisor at Peninsula Hospital; and Al Catanese, Builder. Congratulations! You all wear your honors well!

Although the Hearts and Shamrocks Dance is an occasion to introduce and celebrate our honorees, as well as raise the much needed money to produce our parade, it is also a traditional day that celebrates family. In many ways, that's what we have become! I am also always touched and delighted to see all the children romp around the room and dance to the Irish music with their parents and grandparents. It's wonderful to see the grandchildren of Ben and Mary Lenihan, Chris and Mary Bowles, and Molly Faherty. My, how they have grown! And this year, in addition to his older brothers Jake and Greggory, we met James Reynolds Sullivan who made his first debut! Sweet baby James, who is nine months old, is the youngest grandchild of Mrs. Rosemary Sullivan. He is named for his uncle, James Conway Sullivan and has those same striking blue eyes. It was a profound joy to hold him in my arms. It is for the children that we must keep the tradition legacy of the parade alive!

In addition to these families, it was also nice to see people like the Maroneys, the McGraths, the Kellers, the O'Sullivans, the Shannaghans, Brendan Dolan of Breezy Point, Liz Sulik, Councilman Joe Addabbo, Ellen Peppard, Danny and Wendy Sullivan, Rosemary Murphy, Grace McCloskey, Leslie Mahoney, and even Kevin Boyle was there! The roster of those in attendance reads like a Who's Who in the Irish community. See my photographs for more!

This year, the parade committee, under the direction of Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, endowed three local parishes, St. Rose of Lima, St. Camillus, and St. Frances De Sales, each with one thousand dollar scholarships. The James Conway Sullivan Queens County Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committe Scholarships were given to two children from each of the parishes who entered our Essay Contest. The topic was the contributions that the Irish have made to America. The winners are: Michael O'Connor and Adebola Adegbite of St. Camillus; Natalie Jean and Josephine Adjei-Bosompen of St. Rose; and Kerri Gallagher and Meagan Boyle of St. Frances De Sales. Mrs. Rosemary Sullivan presented the awards.

Parade committee President Michael Benn thanks Dance Co-Chairwomen Christine Benn and Peggy Neville and the entire parade committee for ensuring a successful day; and to each and every one of you who continue to support Rockaway's greatest day, the parade!
*****STAR ATHLETE! Terence Keane, age six, recently received both the Stepping Up and B.C.A.C Peanut Awards for football. This promising young athlete is the adorable son of Peter and Wendy Keane of Broad Channel. In addition to his parents,  big sisters Ashley and Shannon, younger brother Peter, and little sister Elizabeth are all very proud. Look out, Jets and Giants! Here comes Terence Keane!
*****Congratulations to newlyweds Mary and Brian Cawley. After a three year courtship, the couple decided to tie the knot just before Christmas. May you have many years together of wedded bliss!
*****See you....On The Beach!          

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