Chatting with Chapey
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Council Speaker Honors Parade Leaders
On Saturday, February 21, the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Cultural Committee held their annual dinner dance at Antuns. Over five hundred people came to join in the celebration.
Congratulations to the parade committee chairperson, Michael Benn, on a wonderful event. Mike Benn has done an outstanding job leading the parade committee. For Mike Benn the parade is a labor of love. He is a son of the Emerald Isle hailing from Lim erick. He has a deep appreciation of the history and culture of the Irish people. Mike hosts a very lively and interesting weekly show on QPTV entitled "Eyes of the Irish". Each week Mike interviews outstanding leaders from education, labor, politics and en tertainment. He focuses on timely topics that would be of interest to the general viewing audience. Mike reaches out to work with diverse populations. He has a very inclusive style. He wears many hats and wears them well.
The purpose of the dance is to introduce the parade honorees and to present them with the sash that they will wear proudly down the avenue on Saturday, March 6. This year, we are honoring individuals who have achieved in their own field and who have made significant contributions to our community, our city and our state. We are honoring: Grand Marshals – Maurice Foley and Angela Reilly; Honorary Grand Marshals – Larry Sullivan and Sister Patricia Chelius; Gail of the Year – Chief Michael Collins; and Deputy Grand Marshals – Gerry Devine, John Heslin, Joe Mure, A. J. Smith, Bryan Bernath, Frank Walker, Father Vincent O’Connell, Virginia C. Smith, Barbara Brennan Friedman and William Neville. Con gratulations to the honorees and their families.
The Speaker of New York City Council Gifford Miller, presented proclamations to Dr. Geraldine Cha pey, Christine Benn and Peggy Neville at the dinner dance. The Speaker of the NYC Council Gifford Miller gave a citation to Dr. Geraldine Chapey (me) for outstanding service to the city and the community. Gifford Miller stated that "Dr. Chapey exemplifies all that is best in people; abundant generosity; the development of ones intellect, spirit and talents to help educate others and a commitment to the values and issues that most forcefully strengthen family and community bonds." In ad dition, Christine Benn was given a proclamation. Christine Benn is the wife of our parade chairperson – Michael Benn. Christine is a motivating force in all parade activities. Christine hails from Limerick in Ire land. Christine has a warm and generous personality. She loves people. She and Mike have raised a beautiful family – Michael, Richard, William, Tara, Brendan and Patrick. Their family also now includes Kimberly and Kelly. They have instilled in their children a strong sense of faith, a love for America and Ireland and a strong commitment to serve their community. Christine was honored for her many contributions. Peggy Neville also re ceived a citation. Peggy serves as the Vice President of the parade committee. Among her other duties she is in charge of co-ordinating all activities with each honoree. Peggy was given the proclamation for her contributions. Peggy and her husband, William Nev ille, hail from Ireland. Peggy was born in Bally Castle, County Mayo and Will iam was born in Tullamore, Coun ty Offaly.
They came to Queens twenty-seven years ago and have raised a lovely family with three sons – John, David and Paul. William and Peggy Neville chair the dinner dance.
Once again, congratulations to Mike Benn and his family. They are leading us in a fine and noble Irish tradition.
As we march down the avenue on March 6, we will be joined by people of many nationalities and people of different faiths. We will remember our founder James Conway Sullivan. James Sullivan was a young man with a dream. He had the perseverance and determination to make that dream a reality. On Saturday, March 6 we will continue that dream. We will all unite in solidarity to inspire a love of all things Irish, true patriotism for our country, a belief in faith and a commitment to serve our neighbors.