2005-03-18 / Columnists

Chatting with Chapey

Dr. Geraldine ChapeyDr. Geraldine Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader

30th Annual Irish Parade The thirtieth annual Queens St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held on Saturday, March 5. The old adage was that wine gets better with age. I think that we must also say that our parade is getting better with age. I truly believe that this was one of our most outstanding parades.

The day began with a solemn Mass at St. Francis de Sales at 9 a.m. Monsignor Geraghty’s homily was inspirational and poignant. Monsignor’s warmth and inclusiveness gave a message of welcome to each and everyone in attendance. Monsignor brings us back to the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day, which has its roots in the teachings of St. Patrick’s in Ireland.

Kudos to the Benn family for their leadership of the parade. It is remarkable to see the entire family working together to continue our wonderful community tradition. The Benns exude a true Irish spirit. They are dedicated to their religion, their family and their community.

Mike Benn is a born leader. He works with the 50 members of the committee to co-ordinate the best parade in the city. He has a keen intellect, a great sense of humor and a friendly and outgoing personality which are the ingredients of a great leader.

This year we had an outstanding group of honorees.

James Patrick Mahoney was the male Grand Marshal. He is an outstanding labor leader serving as Business Agent of Local 580 of the Ornamental and Architectural Iron Workers. His family has a long and illustrious tradition of leading union workers. His father John “Cy” Mahoney was a long time officer in the Teamsters Local 808. Cy Mahoney and my father were very close friends. My father admired and respected Cy for his courage in championing the cause of men and women in the labor movement. Cy was strong, wise, intelligent and persevering. His son James Mahoney has the same qualities. He is a people person. He has devoted his time and talent to fighting for fair wages and benefits for workers. I commend him for his outstanding work.

Therese Crowe, the female Grand Marshal, is a nurse from Tipperary Ireland. She studied at the New York Hospital of Special Surgery, Cornell Medical School and the Hospital for Joint Diseases. Therese has a very warm heart. She reaches out to help people when they are ill. She has received numerous awards.

Mary Lee, the honorary Grand Marshal, hails from County Limerick. Mary graduated from St. Francis College in England. Mary has devoted her time to raising her children and working with high school students with special needs.

Gerard McCabe, the honorary Grand Marshal, is an attorney and a principal in the McCabe and Associates law firm. He is a graduate of New York Law School and specializes in real estate development. He is the brother of an outstanding young lady – Patricia McCabe. Gerard told me that Patricia is the best sister that anyone could have. He notes that in time of need Patricia is ready and willing to help. Patricia always goes the extra mile.

Eugene Pasternak, my husband, was the Gael of the Year. Eugene’s family comes from the Ukraine. Eugene has very strong interpersonal skills. He has been an active member of the Parade Committee for over 25 years. He holds an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson. He is also a professor at CUNY.

Congratulations to all the Deputy Grand Marshals who have worked so hard and contributed so much to their community: Mary Bowles, Terry Ariola, Frank Connolly, Terence Williams, John Conroy, Keith Goldberg, Joseph Perrotta, Edward Shevlin, Jr., Brian O’Connell and Donald Hart.

As the chairperson of the Queens St. Patrick’s Day Parade scholarship committee I am pleased to announce the following winners: St. Rose of Lima School: Ilya Slepov and Allen Morency; St. Camillus School: Patrick Nee and Kathleen Kuhn; St. Francis de Sales School, Sean Carley, Kaitlyn McVeigh, Diana Naccarato, Kelly Shannon and Elizabeth Woods. Those essays that were submitted for review were well written and well organized. Thanks to all those who participated.

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