2012-03-02 / Community

St. Patrick’s Day Parade


Kevin O’Brien Kevin O’Brien GRAND MARSHAL

Kevin O’Brien

Kevin O’Brien Vice President/ Mission Critical Center of Excellence Gilbane Building Company. Mr. O’Brien serves as sector leader of Gilbane’s Mission Critical Center of Excellence. He is a 32-year veteran of the engineering and construction industries specializing in mission critical facilities. He has been involved in the planning, construction and commissioning of well over 10 million SF of data centers at all levels of redundancy and density. His experience includes data centers for such clients as JPMC, Bank of America, Hellifax Bank of Scotland, Lowes, New York Stock Exchange, Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Digital Realty Trust. In his role as the mission critical sector leader for Gilbane Building Company, Mr. O’Brien is responsible for broadening the service offerings in the sector which includes data centers, call centers, operations centers, command centers and other 24/7 facilities that must operate without interruption. He is responsible for the quality of staff, training, commissioning standards as well as construction oversight. Early in his mission critical career, Mr. O'Brien worked as a facilities manager for Bear Sterns Financial Services firm and had complete operational responsibility for all the firm's data centers. Prior to joining Gilbane, Mr. O'Brien spent nearly 20 years at Structure Tone, a full-service construction services provider in the US, UK, Ireland and Asia, leading their technical services and mission critical groups based in New York City. Kevin holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science and Environmental Control Technology from NYC Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Central Florida. He is an active member of Data Center Dynamics, 7X24 Exchange, AFCOM and the US Green Building Council. A Rockaway beach surfer for the last 40 years, he resides in Middletown, NJ with his wife Sue and three children, son Kerry (27), daughters Blair (25) and Paige (19).


Honorable Edward Rice Honorable Edward Rice 
Honorable Paddy McCarthy Honorable Paddy McCarthy GAEL OF THE YEAR

Honorable Paddy McCarthy

Paddy was born in Ballyphehane, Cork City, into a family of seven boys and two girls. Like most Irish families of the time, the McCarthys lived a happy life, in humble conditions. On leaving school, Paddy tried his hand at several occupations, including shoe manufacturing and working for CIE on the Cork docks.

In the era of the show band and thronged dance halls, like Enniskeane’s Lilac and Cork City’s Arcadia Ballroom, Paddy was energized by the buzz and excitement of it all. By age 17, he was a professional drummer playing with various bands, including his mainstay “Sunset.” Within a short time, the Ballyphehane boy was promoting concerts around Ireland. The Chieftains, Dire Straits, Clannad and Loudon Wainwright III were just some of the well known groups in his portfolio.


Honorable Eileen Long Chelales Honorable Eileen Long Chelales By the early 1980s, the Irish economy had sunk into dire recession. Unemployment was in the double digits. The City by the Lee was devastated. Old mainstays of Cork’s work force such as Ford’s, Dunlop’s, Sunbeam and other entities were crumbling, as the economy acclimatized to the harsh criteria of European Community membership.

Like many of his contemporaries, Paddy set out on the well trodden emigrant path to the United States. By 1982, he had begun his New York career working as a bartender, behind the sticks on Second Avenue. It was around this time that the Ballyphehane boy came under the wing of one of the godfathers of the Cork community, in New York, Joe Murphy a native of Cullen. Within a short time Paddy had been press ganged into the, then, County Corkmen’s Association, at its headquarters, on 58th Street, in Woodside. The two rebels have remained close collaborators ever since.


Honorable Thomas Flood Honorable Thomas Flood In 1988, Paddy joined the Irish Voice newspaper, eventually becoming advertising director. In the early 1990s, he left the Irish Voice to open his own bar, the thriving Nevada Smith's in Manhattan. Always one to simultaneously juggle many balls, Paddy also took on the position of advertising director in World of Hibernia Magazine. In 2000, Paddy, along with other business associates, launched the prestigious Irish Connections magazine, which continues to provoke and inspire. In 2006, the boy from Ballyphehane, launched yet another publication, a weekly Irish American newspaper, the Irish Examiner.


Honorable Mark C. Edwards Honorable Mark C. Edwards Paddy is married to Patricia, who hails from East Meadow, Long Island. They are the proud parents of Christina, who is a graduate of Manhattan College, and son James, who attends Nassau Community College in Garden City, Long Island.

Paddy is a perfect encapsulation of the legendary Irish immigrant wit, initiative and perseverance. James Joyce once described the necessary qualifications for an Irishman to succeed as being “silence, cunning and exile.” In the case of Paddy, we could debate about the first qualification, but there is no doubt about the other two. No matter how much success he enjoys, Paddy will always regard himself, first and foremost, as just a "Cork boy,” proud of his native city and county, even though as he says himself, his "feet are now firmly planted here in the United States.”


Honorable Mary Ellen Murray Honorable Mary Ellen Murray The County Cork Association wishes Paddy, Patricia and all the McCarthy clan much good fortune and prosperity in the future.

GAEL OF THE YEAR

Honorable Edward Rice

Edward Rice was born in Flushing Hospital, Queens, N.Y. on March 23, 1952. He is a 2nd generation Irish- American, tracing his ancestry to counties Fermanagh and Kildare on his mother’s side and to County Louth on his father’s side.

Ed attended St. Mel’s Elementary School in Flushing and St. Helena’s High School in the Bronx. He graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in History and a minor in Spanish. Since 1976, Ed has served with the N.Y.C. Department of Education as a bilingual classroom teacher, and later as an attendance teacher.

An awareness of his Irish heritage and culture was sparked during a year of study in Spain, when Ed found time to visit Ireland. Since then, he revisited Ireland in 1990 on the Irish Peoples’ Tour of the occupied Northeast part of Ireland. Ed became a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1976, being a founding member of the reconstituted Division 15 in Whitestone. Since then, Ed Rice has held positions on the Division, County, and State levels of the A.O.H. He is currently in his third term of office as President of the Queens County Board.


Honorable Sister Agnes White Honorable Sister Agnes White Besides the A.O.H., Ed Rice never turned down membership in other Irish and Catholic organizations when they asked him to join. When Ed became an attendance teacher in Community School District 27 in 1988, he was asked by the founder and dearly departed “Captain” of the Queens County St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, James Conway Sullivan, to get himself down to a parade meeting. A few years later, Ed became financial secretary, a position he held until 2011.


Honorable Eileen McDonald Honorable Eileen McDonald Never turning down an organization he ever met, Ed became a member of the Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn after being appointed New York State A.O.H. Commodore John Barry Chairman. This brought him into contact with a rich assortment of Irish community activists like Mary Nolan, president of the club, and Ed was its recording secretary for almost twenty years.

Clearly not totally a glutton for punishment, the great Ed Rice became the President of the Catholic Teachers Association of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2008. And, there he is, still the President in 2012.

Is that it? No, it gets better! A 3rd Degree Knight of Columbus, Ed is a member of the South Ozone Park Council #2236. And, now he is allowed to stay a member in St. Mel’s Mens Club. But he’s not an officer yet.


Honorable Richard Keane Honorable Richard Keane If that isn’t enough, when he was on sabbatical, Ed Rice took up acting in Queensborough Community College. He played Cicero in Julius Caesar, reprised the role of Carl Lindner in A Raisin in the Sun, and participated as a chorine in Oedipus Rex.

Now, there he is, Edward Gerard Rice – a true renaissance man. But, wait, at the age of 60, Ed will wed the adorable and lovely Maureen Leahy, in August of this year.

HONORARY GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Eileen Long Chelales

Eileen Long Chelales currently serves as Director of Development for Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School. Eileen has been with Bishop Ford since September 2010, as Development Director. She oversees all fundraising activities which includes the recently announced Brother Michel Bettigole Financial Aid program, the first of its kind at Bishop Ford. Eileen Long Chelales is a 1988 graduate of Bishop Ford.


Honorable Maurice Landers Honorable Maurice Landers Prior to her arrival at Bishop Ford, Eileen Long-Chelales, served as a member of the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board from July 2006 until September 2010, a position she was appointed to by former Governor Pataki. Prior to that Eileen was the Regional Administrator for the United States Office of General Services Administration appointed by Former President George W. Bush. As Regional Administrator, Eileen was responsible for a workforce of 750 employees across New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In her role as principal executive for GSA’s northeast and Caribbean region, Eileen oversaw an annual operating budget of 1.9 billion and a real estate portfolio that included 83 government owned buildings and leased space in 432 commercial locations.


Honorable Laura Sporny Honorable Laura Sporny Ms. Long-Chelales served as Deputy Secretary for Administration and Operations in the Office of Governor George E. Pataki, a position she held for over two years. Prior to 2002, Ms. Long- Chelales served as the Chief of Staff to New York Lieutenant Governor Mary O. Donohue. She also served as Deputy Press Secretary to Governor Pataki and worked on numerous statewide campaigns. Ms. Long-Chelales received a B.A. in history from St. Francis College in 1992 in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Ms. Long-Chelales and her husband, Joseph, reside in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. They have two children Joseph and Caroline. Eileen and her family are parishioners of Our Lady of Angels Parish in Bay Ridge and her children attend Holy Angels Catholic Academy. She serves on the Our Lady of Angels Alumni Committee.

HONORARY GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Thomas Flood


Honorable Ralph Reed Honorable Ralph Reed Thomas Fitzpatrick Flood is the Vice President for Development at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights, New York. Mr. Flood previously served the Diocese of Brooklyn for ten years as the Executive Director of the Office of Stewardship and Development and then as the Executive Director of the Alive in Hope Foundation - the Catholic Community Foundation of the Diocese. During his tenure he also served as President of the Futures in Education Foundation and today continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Thomas graduated from Boston College in 1989. For eleven years, he was the Annual Fund Director at Regis High School, New York, of which he is also an alumnus. Currently, Thomas serves on the finance council of Holy Child Jesus Parish, Richmond Hill and on the School Board for St. Joan of Arc Catholic School in Jackson Heights and Cristo Rey High School in Brooklyn. In January, Archbishop Robert Carlson invited Thomas to offer his talents to the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ new Catholic School Mission Advancement initiative. He serves on the advisory team with others drawn from the Archdiocese of St. Louis and around the country. He served two terms on the Board of the International Catholic Stewardship Council where he served as Chair of the Development Committee. He is actively involved in other organizations including the Knight of Columbus, the Great Irish Fair of New York, the Kathie and Christopher Lawler Foundation, the Catholic Youth Organization, and Franklin Square Raiders Soccer Program. He supervises adult and youth basketball programs and is the Co-Coordinator of the Make a Difference Christmas effort and of the Greg Trost 9/11 Memorial Golf Outing.


Honorable Maureen Donachie Honorable Maureen Donachie Thomas is married to Eileen, and they have been blessed with three children, Ryan, age 11, Erin, age 9 and Luke, age 6.


Honorable Michael Charles Schramm Jr. Honorable Michael Charles Schramm Jr. GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Mark C. Edwards

Mark C. Edwards was born in Brooklyn, New York on August 1, 1964. His father, David Edwards, comes from County Dublin. The parents of his mother, Monica Brennan Edwards, came from County Mayo and County Kilkenny. Mark is the proud older brother of Brian and Paul Edwards and Tara Edwards Light.

Mark's family moved to Rockaway in 1973. He is a graduate of P.S.114, J.H.S 180 and Beach Channel High School. In 1985, he started working for Con Edison, where he is currently a high voltage troubleshooter in Con Edison's Brooklyn Emergency Department. Mark spent one month at the World Trade Center site restoring power to lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks in 2001.

During high school, he met and later married Alice Foley in 1989. Alice is a graduate of St. Francis de Sales and Stella Maris High school. Alice's mother, the late Maura Burns Foley, came from County Monaghan and her father, Michael Foley, comes from County Kerry. Together they have three wonderful children, Maeghan 20, Sean 19, and Maura 6. Mark is the proud uncle to nieces Devon, Ceara and AisIinn Foley and nephews Benjamin, Michael and Matthew Edwards, and Michael and Christopher Light.

Mark’s love of Irish culture and music started at a very early age. Growing up in an Irish family he was surrounded by stories of Ireland and its music. When he was 13 years old, he spent three months in Ireland with his aunt, uncle, and cousins, and grew to love the country and the culture even more. As a father, he wanted to pass on his love of Ireland to his children and has brought them there several times so they could experience it as well. To broaden his Irish studies, Mark is currently taking Irish language lessons.

With deep pride for his Irish heritage, Mark decided to join the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21 (Rockaway Beach/Breezy Point) and soon thereafter became their treasurer. He was voted President of the division three years ago. Under his leadership, the division has grown 40% in membership and has donated more than $18,000 to local charities. He is also an officer on the Queens County AOH board.

Mark is also a member of the Graybeards, a local charitable organization. The Graybeards are dedicated to helping neighbors and others in need, as well as supporting our troops who have been wounded in combat with the Wounded Warrior Project. He donates countless hours to this organization.

Mark and his family are proud and thankful that he has been selected as an honoree for the Rockaway St. Patrick's Day Parade this year.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Mary Ellen Murray

Mary Ellen Murray was born to Cornelius and Catherine (nee, Donavan) Crowley. Mrs. Murray has direct links to Ireland. Her father emigrated to America from Bantry Bay, county Cork, Ireland. Her grandmother hailed from Castlegregory, county Kerry, Ireland. Mrs. Murray resided on the west side of Manhattan.

In 1960, Mary Ellen Crowley married James Leo Murray at St. Bernard’s church on West 14th Street in Manhattan. The union produced seven beauti- ful children, two sons and five daughters.

In 1972, the family moved from their home in Manhattan to Belle Harbor. In 1978, Mrs. Murray, took the position as a New York City Police Department school crossing guard on the corner of Beach 134th Street and Cronston Avenue, crossing the children at P.S. 114Q.

Mrs. Murray has 12 grandchildren, six boys and six girls.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Sister Agnes White

Sister Agnes White, C.S.J. is currently the principal of St. Camillus School in Rockaway Park.

Sister Agnes was born and educated in Rockaway having attended St. Francis de Sales and Stella Maris High School before entering the sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, NY.

Her whole life has been devoted to education, having taught in Brooklyn, Queens and the east end of Long Island. In addition, Sister Agnes started a day care center in the hills of southeastern Kentucky. Before coming to St. Camillus in 2000, Sister Agnes served in administration at St. Francis de sales and St. John the Baptist in Brooklyn.

Sister Agnes’ Irish heritage comes from Nicholas and Anastasia White, her grandparents from County Wexford.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Eileen McDonald

Eileen McDonald’s Irish roots hail from counties Managhan and West Meath. A Rockaway native of 34 years she has been an ever present factor in the health care imaging services on the Rockaway Peninsula. Presently, Eileen is the coordinator and lead women’s health technologist at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital imaging department. Her primary responsibilities of reaching the new goals envisioned by St. John’s Episcopal Health Services, include outreach into the Rockaway community on issues concerning women’s health and wellness, especially those related to medical imaging examinations. She is focused on St. John’s Episcopal Hospital’s commitment of moving forward in providing optimum healthcare to all residents of the peninsula. As the lead woman’s radiologic technologist, she manages the newly renovated bone density department for osteoporosis screening and is also a certified mam- mography technologist. She is an advocate in the belief that “St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is redefining medical imaging for the Rockaway community.”

A Breezy Point resident, Eileen and her husband Tom are extremely active in the Wounded Warrior Project. They have shared their home with wounded soldiers and marines in July when the Rockaway peninsula welcomes the wounded warriors to our community. Also, in the past, Eileen was an active member of the St. Thomas More CYO, coordinating fundraising events including the yearly awards presentation day, distributing dinners in the Meals On Wheels program and volunteering throughout the city at the World Police/Fire Olympic Games in 2011. When winter arrives, she spends her time as a ski instructor for the children of fallen NYPD officers and deceased FDNY members. Her outside health care interests include the yearly Breast Cancer Awareness events of making strides and race for the cure.

Previously, as a business person, Eileen’s involvement with the Irish Circle Pub has awarded her the benefit of working with many aspects of the Irish culture in Rockaway. The wonderful seisuns, entertainment and musicians that the venue provided helped keep the Irish music alive in the Rockaways.

Eileen has been married to her husband Tom (ret. FDNY), for 34 years. They have two grown children: Lieutenant Thomas McDonald, USN aviator and Colleen McDonald Reilly, kindergarten teacher, PS 183, Arverne.

It is an honor to be a part of the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Eileen would like to thank the committee for all their efforts in continuing an Irish tradition here in Rockaway.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Richard Keane

Richard J. Keane was born to Arthur and Rosemarie Keane on July 30, 1967 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised in Marine Park in the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. He has many fond memories of the beaches of Rockaway as a child.

Richard moved to the Rockaways in 1991. He met his wife Patricia here in the Rockaways. They were married at Saint Francis de Sales Parish in 1995. Richard and Patricia live in the Rockaways with their son Brian and daughter Kaitlin.

Richard is a communication electrician for the New York City Fire Department. He is also the Chairman of the NYC Fire Department Communication Electricians for Local 3 IBEW. He serves as a Trustee for Local 3 IBEW Health and Welfare Fund. Richard is also the Plan Administrator and Trustee for the NYC Fire Department Communication Workers Annuity Fund Local 3 IBEW.

Richard is a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He is an active participant in many charitable endeavors. He gives his time to many charities throughout the year, most notably the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He has been an active participant in raising both money and awareness for Juvenile Diabetes for many years. He also participates in fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Maurice Landers

Maurice Landers, a native of Limerick, Ireland has been very instrumental in service to the Irish community in New York and helping to place newly arrived immigrants with employment. He is a member of the Limerickmen’s Association and numerous other organizations in New York. “Here is the Failte 342 story”

Failte 32, an initiative designed to help Irish J-1 visa holders (and holders of other types of work visas) find employment in the U.S., was organized by a few business people in the Irish American community in New York, and is supported by a network of affiliated Irish American organizations and strategic partners. It has been featured on Morning Ireland, Ireland Calls Radio (Treasa Smyth’s 1460AM/WVOX .com 6 P.M. Saturday), in the Irish Examiner (Ireland), Irish Examiner USA, New York Daily News, and on local and national radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic. It was even given mention on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show.

We are very thankful for the support of the Irish Consulate, in particular the former Consul General, Hon. Niall Burgess, who supported Failte 32 from the beginning which helped get the initiative off the ground.

The idea developed after Paul Hurley read an article in the New York Daily News about the very difficult time young Irish people were having finding employment in the US, and felt that it was his duty to do something about it.

A committee was formed which included the organizers, Paul Hurley, Paddy McCarthy and Maurice Landers, and the heads of the main influential Irish American organizations in New York, to discuss how they could best support our newest arrivals. The result was Failte 32,

Failte 32 was formally launched by then Consul General, Hon. Niall Burgess, in May 2010, and shortly thereafter a televised (Channel 11) post-launch meeting/party was held at O’Casey’s Bar and Restaurant which included a large number of J-1 visa holders, some of whom were interviewed on the day.

Since then, we launched the Shamrock Fund to support eligible visa holders by paying their annual dues to Irish American business and community organizations so that they can actively network for employment.

Please visit www.failte32.org for more information and to sign up to our newsletter.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Laura Sporny

Laura Sporny was born in Brooklyn, NY and after completing her Bachelor of Science in Education, she began her career as a Special Education teacher. Her degree gave her an excellent background for helping others and building relationships.

In 1981 Laura decided to pursue her love of real estate and entered her new career. In January 2004, Laura was offered the position of Sales Manager for Arverne By The Sea, New York City’s award winning master planned community situated on 127 acres of prime real estate in the Rockaways. Laura is honored to work for Beechwood Homes and Benjamin Development, who are the leading developers of this new magical oceanfront community in Queens, New York.

When completed Arverne By The Sea will consist of six distinctive neighborhoods, with 3 bedroom, two family homes featuring 1, 2 & 3 bedroom rental units and over 1,000 condominium units (including 255 affordable units). At Arverne By The Sea one can enjoy ocean views, parks, the community YMCA and the convenience of shopping at the new Stop & Shop Supermarket and Retail Plaza.

It is no surprise that Laura shares her passion by making dreams come true for people. After a generation of hopes, the Arverne renaissance has become a reality and we are experiencing the rebirth of this fine seaside community.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Ralph Reed

Ralph is the first born of eight children to Ralph and Eileen Reed (nee O’Connor). His maternal grandmother was born in Kilkenny and his maternal grandfather was born in Kerry. Ralph is very proud of his Irish heritage and has visited the Emerald Isle twice over the years and looks forward to returning again.

He attended Little Flower Grammar School and Nazareth High School in Brooklyn. Ralph received a Bachelors degree from John Jay College in 1977.

Ralph began his career with the New York City Department of Sanitation in 1981 as a sanitation worker in Harlem. He has had various assignments in the department, including supervisory roles in Manhattan and Brooklyn and as a Superintendent at the Fresh Kills Landfill. Ralph was a member of the department’s Emergency Response Division and worked at Ground Zero in the weeks following the attacks. He is currently the Borough Chief of Staten Island, overseeing all phases of cleaning, refuse, and recycling collection as well as snow removal. Ralph is a longtime member of the departments Emerald and Holy Name Societies.

Ralph has been a summer resident of Breezy Point for over 25 years before moving there fulltime in 2008. He has been married for 28 years to the former Kathleen Regan , a retired New York City Police Officer. They have two daughters, Alyson, 25, a SUNY Oneonta graduate and Kelsey, 21, who attends SUNY Cortland.

Ralph is honored to be a Deputy Grand Marshall in the Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade and looks forward to seeing everybody on the line of march.

GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Maureen Donachie

Maureen was raised in northeastern Connecticut, where she and her three brothers participated in Irish step-dancing for many years. She always had an affinity for Irish traditional music and her father would return from each of his many business trips to New York City and Chicago with a new céilí band recording. Maureen still has that collection of the old LPs from the 1950s and 1960s of the greatest céilí bands of that era. While in graduate school, she danced with a choreography team from Boston which won a third place medal in Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne (the Irish dancing world championships), the first team from the United States ever to do so.

Maureen was first introduced to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the international cultural group dedicated to the preservation of the Irish music, dance, language and song, in the late 1970s while attending graduate school in Worcester, MA. She participated in many events sponsored by the Hanafin- Cooley Branch (Boston) and maintains many friendships there to this day. After school, she moved back to Connecticut and became active in the local Curry-Seery Branch.

Maureen settled in New York in 1997 and has been an active member of CCÉ in the Tri-State area, including serving on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Board since 2002. She joined Craobh Úll Mór Nua Eabhrac CCÉ - literally, the “Big Apple Branch New York” - in 2002 and served as Rúnaí (Secretary) for six years. She is currently serving a third term as Cathaoirleach (Chair) of the Branch. Under Maureen’s leadership, the Branch membership has tripled over the past five years. She has planned, organized, and hosted several concert fundraisers, a highly successful monthly céilí, as well as St. Patrick’s Night socials that benefit the New York Irish Centre of Queens. Weekly Irish language lessons are led by the Branch Treoraí na Gaeilge, and in January 2011 the Branch revived its monthly music seisiún, which has become yet another welcoming friendly event. All of the Branch events are organized in collaboration with the New York Irish Centre of Queens, with which Maureen established a connection shortly after the Centre first opened in 2005.

One of the highlights of recent Branch history occurred in October, 2009. Through Maureen’s guidance and hard work, the Branch hosted a group of sixty musicians and family members from Craobh Naithí CCÉ, Dublin. The visitors from Dublin took part in a week of concerts, seisiúns, sightseeing and shared traditional music with local musicians and students. Many lasting friendships came out of that short tour.

In Maureen’s work with Comhaltas, a recurring theme is always to be “friendly,” “welcoming,” and “inclusive.” Attendance at Branch events represents a true cross-section of the international character of New York City and includes the faces, languages, and accents of a variety of countries. All are made to feel welcome!

In addition to her work with Comhaltas, Maureen established and maintains an extensive on-line web calendar of Irish traditional music, dance and language activities (www.my.calendars.net/ceolagusrince). In 2007, she created a weekly e-letter to summarize the tri-state events. This e-letter currently has a distribution list of 800, with readership from Boston to Anchorage, Santa Fe to Seattle and Chicago to Atlanta. Many musicians, dancers, organizers and promoters contact Maureen through her Ceol Agus Rince web site, email, or FaceBook page to request assistance in publicizing their events or information pertaining to local activities. She is widely recognized for her generosity in sharing her time, talents, and contacts to promote the Irish cultural traditions that have brought her so much enjoyment throughout her life. Maureen works in Manhattan as a health care human resources and administrative professional, with extensive experience in the field of health care.

DEPUTY GRAND MARSHAL

Honorable Michael Charles Schramm Jr.

Michael was born and raised in the Breezy Point section of Rockaway Queens, where he currently resides with his wife Sheila Burke Schramm and their daughter Grace Rose Schramm. He is the youngest child of Michael Sr. and Noreen Schramm of Breezy Point, New York.

Michael attended P.S. 114, J.H.S. 180 and then Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, NY.

From Xaverian High School, Michael went to Johnson and Wales University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Food Service Management and an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts.

Upon graduation from college Michael worked in the restaurant business as a Manager for several years at such diverse eateries as the Slaughtered Lamb Pub and Uno’s Chicago Grill, eventually landing at LaGuardia Airport where he operated 4 restaurants in Terminal B.

Michael eventually realized that though he loved the restaurant business, it wasn’t conducive to a good family life as his wife is a New York City school teacher.

From the restaurant business Michael went to work at Bisys Insurance Company on Beach 129th Street in Rockaway.

Michael’s parents, the owners of the Rockaway Point News affectionately called the “Pointer” in Breezy Point, were considering retiring to Florida full time and possibly selling the beloved small newspaper. Michael, sensing that though his father wanted to retire his mother Noreen wasn’t quite ready. He conferred with his wife Sheila as to whether she thought they could operate the paper together. Sheila was supportive of Michael’s decision and in May of 2008, Michael started in the newspaper business as an associate editor.

The Rockaway Point News at that time was a weekly paper in the summer and a monthly paper in the winter. Michael noticed that the cooperative that he grew up in had undergone a drastic change in residency, from a mostly summer resident area to a predominately winter resident area. Michael sensed that the Point could use a weekly paper and the Pointer then became a weekly publication. Together with his mother, they have made the Pointer into a must read publication.

Michael is a member of the Point Breeze Volunteer Fire Department, the Msgr. William F. Burke Knights of Columbus Rockaway Council #2672, the Graybeards and Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 21 Rockaway Beach and Breezy Point.

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