Article Credit: MassLive
Happy 2019 Green Season!
On behalf of the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke, it is my honor to welcome you to the City of Holyoke, the 68th Annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and a weekend of amazing festivities! It has been a privilege to serve this past year as President of our Committee and to be able to celebrate so many different Irish events in our region. Being President of this group is the easy part as I am grateful to the over 200 members of our Committee for their hard work and dedication. They truly make it possible to put on an amazing and successful 44th Annual Road Race and 68th Parade.
I also want to thank the citizens of Holyoke for their support of the Parade and Road Race over the years. It is because of their pride that we can allow our streets to shine during this great time. I need to acknowledge the great support we receive from Mayor Alex Morse and the Holyoke City Council. We are able to be successful because the Mayor and City Council are always ready to support our community. Holyoke is proud to be on display parade weekend and the rest of the year because of the hard work of the Holyoke Department of Public Works, Holyoke Gas and Electric, Holyoke Police Department, the Holyoke Auxiliary Police, the Holyoke Fire Department and the Massachusetts State Police. Collectively, these groups ensure that we are all safe 365 days a year. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment and dedication as they truly are some of the best public servants I know.
We could not be successful as an organization without the support of the business community and all of our generous sponsors from across Western Massachusetts and across the Commonwealth. Our sponsors make it possible for us to be on television, recruit the greatest bands, build the best floats and allow us to display the best the Pioneer Valley has.
I also want to congratulate all of our outstanding award winners this year. I look forward to marching with our Grand Marshal Roger Reidy, a dedicated local business owner and Parade Committee member for many years. It is a pleasure to recognize Holyoke native TJ Jagodowski as the John F. Kennedy National Award Winner. We honor Dr. Christopher Fox, who hails from Notre Dame University, with the Ambassador Award. Joe Weisse who has ensured our runners have stayed hydrated as the owner of Laurel Pure Water is the recipient of the Citizenship Award. Our Committee is also recognizing the work of three long time members for their hard work over the years. Ann Lowe will receive the Rohan Award, Jennifer Cooper the O’Connell Award and Joe Morrison with the Gallivan Award. Finally, I want to recognize Lauren Dulude as our 2019 Grand Colleen and the other members of her court.
Growing up in Holyoke, we all have our memories of parade day and green season. I can vividly remember standing out with my family at the end of Hitchcock Street with excitement as bands, floats and Colleens made there way down the street. I always remember seeing the people in the “yellow jackets” who made sure that the parade continued down the street. I never really thought that I would someday see myself as one of these people with a yellow jacket. In 2008, Kimberly Izquierdo convinced me to come to a meeting with her and that we should join the group. I was hesitant but I said, “I can give a little bit of time.” Now, 11 years later I find myself as President of an organization that has been like a second family.
Parade Day and Road Race weekend is a time we all get to celebrate the rich diversity of Holyoke and Western Massachusetts. Whether you are Irish or Irish-at-heart (#allarewelcome) we come together to celebrate all that is great within our City. If you are a visitor to Holyoke, I would encourage you to take some time and visit the Holyoke Merry Go Round, the International Volley Ball Hall of Fame, Mt. Tom or any of the other amazing points of interest that we have to offer.
I also would not have been successful as President without the support of my family. I had many events across Western Mass to attend and I often had to alter plans and break commitments so I could represent the Parade Committee. I am grateful to my partner, Michael, for always being willing to attend events and help out where needed to make me successful this year. I hope that everyone has a great and safe St. Patrick’s Day Weekend! I can’t wait to see you along the parade route.
Devin M. Sheehan