Tell us about yourself.
I am a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. I am the recording secretary for Division 21 in Rockaway and the historian for Queens County LAOH.
I was raised in Richmond Hill in Queens. I went to St. Benedict’s.
My siblings and I spent summers in Rockaway all our lives. Once school was out in June we didn’t come back to “the city” until September. We didn’t put shoes on till then!
I got married in 1984. In 1986, when we had saved up, we bought a house in Breezy.
My husband, Russ, and I have three kids; Patricia 25, Brian 23 and Kevin is 21. So we have three kids, two dogs and a cat all in one house.
I worked at the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations for 12 years. I left when my daughter was born. When my youngest was in junior high school, I started to work for Ameritag, right here in Rockaway. I’m here almost nine years. It’s a loss prevention company.
Were you involved with community or civic affairs before?
No, I wasn’t part of another group. If there was a donation or collection or if somebody had a card party, I would help out. But I wasn’t involved in any groups.
When my kids were there I was volunteering a lot at PS 114, then I moved over to Scholars’.
I was taking some step dancing lessons in Rockaway, for exercise. Phil McManus came down. And I said to him, with all these women in Rockaway, how do you not have a division of the LAOH here?
It was something that I was not involved with before. It was something my grandparents did. My parents, not necessarily. They didn’t have the time with four kids. What activities are you involved in now?
I was one of the original founders and officers of Division 21 of LAOH in Rockaway. I am a member of the Queens County division, too.
I am the recording secretary for the Division and the historian of the County. I take the minutes of each meeting, scan and get out everything that comes in and make sure everyone gets everything.
I’m still very active with Bridge To Life. I spent a lot of time getting together items, delivering clothes to women who were having babies and didn’t have a place to go. I would go all over Rockaway collecting baby carriages, high chairs, cribs, baby clothes in my van. What kinds of things does the LAOH do?
We meet once a month at the Knights of Columbus. We round up all the ladies and do whatever we can to help. We are nice strong group.
We’re out here to help keep the Irish faith, the Irish culture and spirit alive in the Rockaways and all over. We are here to lend a helping hand to those who need help. That’s actually how it started, when the Irish were coming over and needed that help at first.
We always ask if anyone knows anyone who needs help. We will find out what they can use and get that to them. Whatever is needed and whatever needs to get done. We try to donate as much as we can to other causes, like the St. Rose of Lima food pantry.
And we carry the flags of all the counties of Ireland in the parade. There are 32 flags. We have our ladies come out and they’re not even back in their houses in Breezy yet. They lost everything.
I’ll be carrying the Roscommon flag. That’s where my mother’s family came from. My dad’s family were from County Louth. What is the most important issue facing Rockaway today?
Maybe having a good diner. Whatever was here just doesn’t last for some reason. Maybe more stores, so you could actually go to Rockaway and buy, oh, a pair of shoes? Transportation could be better.
I’m not a complainer. If there is a complaint, well, I look and say “what can we do about it?” What’s the best thing about living in Rockaway?
The people. They are so kind. And if anyone needs anything, all they need to do is ask. That’s how they are. The people are just wonderful. When I’ve needed help, people would say “Whatever you need, just call.” I wouldn’t leave here for the world. We all look out for each other. Biggest concern?
My house, the house I grew up in, that my Mom lived in on Irving walk was washed away in Sandy.
We have a lot of construction going here in Breezy. I am hoping people don’t just give up. I am just hoping it all comes back, all of Rockaway, and bigger and better than ever. And I am just hoping things come back sooner rather than later. We do want people to stay. It’s very disheartening dealing the insurance and all those things, and not getting what they need. What advice or suggestions do you have for people who are not involved, but are interested in helping their community?
Just step up and get involved. In reading in The Wave there are so many projects, so many things going on. Give a call and get involved. You don’t have to take charge, but do what you can. I know a lot of people don’t all have the time, but help were you can. Or help the person that’s helping. If everyone can do that, do a little, then that will make this even a better place.
And it feels good! You’ve done what you can.
There’s no looking back; every day is a different place.