2003-03-08 / Columnists

Simon Says...

Simon Says...

Lew M. SimonLew M. Simon

From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

The next Atlantic City bus trip to Trump Marina will be on Saturday, March 22. The cost is $28 with Our $17 returned. We leave at 5:30 PM and return at 8 AM. We will pick up and drop you off on Shorefront Parkway from 7400 to 107-10

This Saturday was the 28th annual James Conway Sullivan Queens County St. Patrick’s Day parade. Jimmy founded this parade and served as chair for almost 26 years. Jimmy was a former Republican District leader and School Board 27 member. He fought on behalf of all Irish Americans and Irish immigrants supporting the MacBride principals, freedom and peace in Ireland, Irish immigration reform and the release of Jon Dougherty. Jimmy gave his heart and soul to this Rockaway parade, which became the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city.

Jimmy always gave his all making sure that all those who needed employment were helped to secure positions. Jimmy is deeply missed by so many. His dream of making our local St. Patrick’s Day parade has been one of the best things that happened to Rockaway. Thanks for all. We miss you.

This Saturday’s parade started with the annual mass at St. Francis de Sales church followed by breakfast at the Beach Club. Honorees were presented with proclamations from our various elected officials. We all had the great pleasure of hearing from A. Gifford Miller, Speaker of the City Council, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and our Councilman, Joe Addabbo. Also on hand were former Sanitation Commissioner Kevin Farrell and ESPN Announcer Tommy Smyth who also served as the announcer of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade. Smyth is a man of great stature, with a wonderful personality and quite a bit of humor.

We wish to thank the Green Bus lines for their cooperation. After I made one phone call they provided us with a bus for the entire day. They took us from St. Francis, to the Beach Club, from the Beach club to St. Rose and back to St. Francis to pick up our cars. We thank them for what they have done for us.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg had the honor of cutting the ribbon as the parade kicked off at Beach 129 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. We had the great honor of being driven by John Kearney who has a beautiful A-1 Classic car. On the front were two dancing Uncle Sam figures, which were enjoyed by children and adults in the crowd. As we moved slowly down the boulevard we enjoyed hearing the bands playing Irish and patriotic music. In the car with me were Deputy Grand Marshals Mary Ursula O’Rourke R.N., an outstanding nurse at Peninsula Hospital and Barney Cassidy of the cooperative board at Breezy Point.

It was a day when you know where you stand in the eyes of your community. It was great to hear people cheering Lew, Lew, Lew. The claps, the waves, and thank you’s for all you do and God Bless You. It was great to get compliments on how much weight I lost. I also heard a few remarks asking if I was ill because I lost so much weight. I have not been ill, but I feel very good with this diet.

I wish to thank all the thousands who stood along the streets to cheer us in the parade. It shows Rockaway is one big, happy family. It was amazing that I was able to say hello to so many thousands of people by name. Although the wind was quite brisk, it was one of the most beautiful days we had.

At the awards reception at St. Rose of Lima all of the honorees received plaques. We thank the officers for their work through the year to make this day a success. The president is Michael Benn, Owen Baxter Vice President, Thomas Touey Treasurer, Ed Rice Financial Secretary, Rosemary Murphy Corresponding Secretary, Beverly Baxter Recording Secretary, William Neville Sergeant at Arms and Patrick Hughes Parliamentarian. The Board of Directors includes John Murphy, Eugene Pasternak, Edward Shelvin III, Rosemary Sullivan, Dr. Geraldine Chapey, Lew Simon and Peggy Neville, Chairlady.

The Grand Marshals this year were James Cahill of the Steamfitters Local 638, an international representative of the union and a member of the New York State AFL-CIO Executive Council, and Treasa Smyth, who promotes and announces Irish sports, is a radio personality along with her husband on WVOX. They added class to our parade.

Gael of the year was James P. Supple who is one day short of 91 years of age. He was honored for all his activities in the Irish community. Honorary Grand Marshal Frances Abbraccamento hails from Breezy is a woman of class and stature who was a former Democratic District Leader. Martin Kelly, manager of the Special Services of Verizon, added class to the day. Edward O’Grady, who manages over 35 buildings for Newmark Real Estate, is a gentleman and scholar. Other Deputy Grand Marshals were Pat Russell, administrator of the Park Nursing Homes, who is president of Division 21 of the AOH, Barney Cassidy, member of the board of the Breezy Point Cooperative, and owner of Shamrock Computers, is one of the nicest guys you could ask to meet, a guy who fights for what he believes in and is a retired warden for the New York City Department o Corrections. I was very proud to place his name in nomination as a Deputy Grand Marshal. Thomas Hughes, Chairman of the Board of St. Barnabus Nursing Home, served the NYC Sanitation Department with great distinction.

John Hennessey, branch manager, North Fork Bank and First Vice President of the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce is a fine asset to our business community and a great addition to the parade. James Kelly has worked actively for many years helping the Rockaway Rockies. I watched him grow up and become a great individual and it was great to see him honored. Al Catanese, who is partner with his brother In Two Brothers Construction, has put his money where his mouth is in building a medical center on Beach 102 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard as well as now building a mall on Beach 106th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Steve Stathis, president of the Graybeards, is well deserving of this honor for all his work helping so many hundreds of people who had bad luck with fire or other disasters. Steve and his group are the best. Nadia Murphy, President of the Shore Garden club who turns everything she touches to gold. Her beautiful planting in the Rockaways has made her a lady of class and distinction, a beautiful, wonderful individual who adds class and perfection to us all.

The Good Government Regular Democratic Club, is at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive. We meet every Thursday evening from 7:30 to 11 PM. Dues are $25 for a family, $18 single and $12 for Seniors and Young Dems.

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