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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2013

ESSEX COUNTY FREEHOLDERS CELEBRATE ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Annual “Salute to the Irish” Event Honors Grand Marshals, Deputy Grand Marshals & Organizing Committees of the Nutley, West Orange and Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parades

(Newark, NJ) – The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held its Annual “Salute to the Irish” Celebration on Wednesday, March 7, 2013, in the Main Lobby at the Hall of Records in Newark.  The program was highlighted by presentations of the Board’s Commendations to the grand marshals, deputy grand marshals and chairpersons of the organizing committees for Essex County’s three St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Nutley, West Orange and Newark.

This year’s event was a collaborative effort of the Freeholder Board and its lead sponsors, Freeholders Brendan Gill of Montclair and Leonard Luciano of West Caldwell, as well as Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (34th District).

Representatives of all three Essex County St. Patrick’s Day parades were joined by the sponsors of the Freeholder Board’s “Salute to the Irish” event: 1st Row (l. to r.) General Chairman Michael Byrne (Newark), Deputy Grand Marshal Michael Merwin (W.O.), Parade Queen Alicia Bennett (Nutley), Parade Co-Chair Deidre Hollywood (Nutley) and Parade Chairwoman Stephanie Gallo (W.O.); 2nd Row (l. to r.) Deputy Grand Marshal Barbara Hughes (W.O.), Grand Marshal John Kelly (Nutley), County Clerk Christopher Durkin and Deputy Grand Marshal Eileen Gilleece (Newark); 3rd Row (l. to r.) Grand Marshal Patrick Dunican, Jr., Esq. (Newark), Freeholder Brendan Gill and Grand Marshal Assemblyman John McKeon (W.O.); and Back Row (l. to r.) Deputy Grand Marshal Seamus Burke (Nutley), Freeholder Leonard Luciano and Nutley Irish American Association “Member of the Year” Steve Tucholski.  (Photo by Glen Frieson)

Freeholder Gill opened the program by welcoming the audience to the Board’s 2013 “Salute to the Irish” celebration joking, that “…when your name is Brendan Gill, you are instantly selected to host the Salute to the Irish, and I am proud to do it”.  He also noted how proud he was, as an Irishman, “to continue the Irish tradition of public service”.  Freeholder Luciano commented that being half-Italian and half-Irish, he had “…the best of both worlds”, and how happy he was to co-sponsor the event with Freeholder Gill.

County Clerk Chris Durkin introduced Assemblyman Tom Giblin, calling him an “Irish treasure… an American treasure.”  Giblin remarked how County Executive DiVincenzo and the Freeholder Board have created an “Irish Hall of Fame” walkway around the county complex in Newark with memorials and statues of Governor Brendan Byrne (former Essex County Prosecutor), the late Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (whose father was a Newark Public Safety Commissioner), the late Superior Court Judge Tim McCormack (former freeholder), Charles Cummings (considered the Newark Historian), and the late Congressman Donald Payne, “no better friend of Ireland”.  He also presented the Board’s In Memorian Resolution to Gloria Pellegrino for her late husband, Terence, to whom the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade is dedicated this year.

The 35th Annual Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held on Saturday, March 2nd, was represented by its Grand Marshal John Kelly, Deputy Grand Marshal Seamus Burke, Parade Queen Alicia Bennett, Nutley Irish American Association “Member of the Year” Steve Tucholski, and Parade Co-Chairperson, Deidre Hollywood.

Freeholder Gill commented that he had a great time at the Nutley parade and thanked Co-Chair Deidre Hollywood for her graciousness in allowing him to participate.  Grand Marshal John Kelly congratulated the West Orange and Newark grand marshals and, alluding to their high-profile positions, added, “to share the same title with you at the same time in the same building is really a great honor for a regular guy like me.”  Addressing the freeholders, he added, “This is an extraordinary experience for me and I can’t believe I’m standing here talking to you.  Thank you very much.”

Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Freeholder Brendan Gill (back row, center) and County Clerk Christopher Durkin (back row, right) joined the Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade dignitaries: (front row, left to right) Grand Marshal John Kelly, Parade Queen Alicia Bennett, Parade Co-Chair Deidre Hollywood, Nutley Irish American Association “Member of the Year” Steve Tucholski and (back row, left) Deputy Grand Marshal Seamus Burke.  (Photo by Glen Frieson)

The 62nd Annual West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held on Sunday, March 10th, when participants marched down Main Street, renamed “McKeon Boulevard” in honor of Grand Marshal Assemblyman John McKeon for the day.  McKeon thanked the freeholders for holding the event and congratulated the grand marshals and deputy grand marshals of the Nutley and Newark parades and his fellow West Orange parade dignitaries saying, “I’m proud to march with you”.  He also thanked his Chairwoman, Stephanie Gallo, noting that although she had an Italian last name, “she is an O’Hara, and her venerable family’s Association is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.”  He concluded his remarks saying, “Thank you so much for this wonderful honor.”

West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Freeholder Leonard Luciano (center) with West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade dignitaries (left to right): Grand Marshal Assemblyman John McKeon, Deputy Grand Marshal Barbara Hughes, Parade Chair Stephanie Gallo and Deputy Grand Marshal Michael Merwin.  (Photo by Glen Frieson)

The 78th Annual Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New Jersey’s oldest, will be held on Friday, March 15th, in downtown Newark.   Attending the event were its Grand Marshal, Patrick Dunican, Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of the Gibbons PC law firm, Deputy Grand Marshal N. J. State Trooper Eileen Gilleece, and the parade’s General Chairman, Michael D. Byrne, who thanked Freeholder Gill for putting the event together.  Dunican congratulated his fellow honorees and spoke about the history and Irish roots of the Gibbons law firm, formed in Newark in1926 by a group of Irish lawyers, saying, “these Irish folks had to come together because they could not get a job at any of those other ‘white shoe’ firms started by other groups due to rampant discrimination against the Irish back at the start of the last century.”  Deputy Grand Marshal Gilleece reflected on her involvement in the Newark parades since she was a child and encouraged everyone to attend this year’s edition, adding, “but if you can’t, please pray for sunshine.”  Gloria Pellegrino thanked the Board for honoring her late husband, Terence, saying, “it is truly a great honor for you to recognize him.”

Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade:  Front Row (left to right) – Freeholder Brendan Gill, Gloria Pellegrino, Deputy Grand Marshal Eileen Gilleece and Parade General Chairman Michael Byrne; 2nd Row (left to right) – Grand Marshal Patrick Dunican, Jr., Esq., and County Clerk Christopher Durkin.  (Photo by Glen Frieson)

In addition to Freeholders Gill and Luciano, County Clerk Christopher J. Durkin and Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin, the “Honorary Irish” members of the Freeholder Board, Freeholder President Blonnie Watson and Freeholder Rufus Johnson, also participated in the program.  State Senator Ronald L. Rice, Essex County Register Philip Thigpen, Sheriff Armando Fontoura and Prosecutor Carolyn Murray were also in attendance, among many others.

The program also included remarks by Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr., who claimed his “Irishness” through his ½-Irish granddaughter.  Carolyne Volpe Curley sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” and the Irish National Anthem, “A Soldier’s Song”, and four students from the DeNogla School of Irish Dance of Verona provided the event’s entertainment by performing two dance numbers: Ciara McGovern of Roseland, Carli Lavoie of Verona, Kaitlyn Keane of Verona and John Ferns of Long Valley.  Father Edwin Leahy of St. Benedict’s Prep offered both the Invocation and Benediction.

At the conclusion of the program, guests were invited to a Reception on the 5th Floor that included corned beef, cabbage and potatoes provided by St. James Gate Publick House of Maplewood, as well as Irish soda bread, cakes and cookies.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
973-621-4452
Gkroessig@freeholders.essexcountynj.org

 

 

 

Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695