By Katie McFadden
‘Tis a grand lineup of honorees at this year’s Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Parade day is Saturday, March 4, and among the lineup will be a bevy of fine lads and lasses that make up this year’s honorees. They’ll all be marching in the parade that kicks off at 1 p.m. at Beach 130th and Newport Avenue and makes its way down Newport to Beach 116th, where they’ll turn toward Rockaway Beach Boulevard and march to the end at St. Camillus on Beach 100th Street. The day will kick off with a Mass at St. Francis de Sales on Beach 129th at 9 a.m. and an awards ceremony will follow the parade at the Knights of Columbus on Beach 90th Street.
Leading the honorees is Grand Marshal Michael O’Toole, Vice President of Local 282 Teamsters, which represents workers who handle and transport building materials. O’Toole, a native of Brooklyn, joined the Teamsters in 1974 and has risen through the ranks of the executive board since 2006.
This year’s Gael of the Year is Michael O’Reilly, who hails from Mullahoran in County Cavan and immigrated to the U.S. in 1983. O’Reilly is a founding member and first president of the Shannon Gaels Football club and President of the Cavan P & B Association. He is also a member of the St. Patrick Day committee and is co-chairman of the cathedral committee.
The honorary female Grand Marshal is Theresa Tobin of the NYPD. She joined the force in 1983 and rose through the ranks to her current role as Chief of Interagency Operations. The honorable male Grand Marshal is Bobby McGuire, a Rockaway native who many may know as the man behind FDNY Boxing and brings Thrilla in Camilla to Rockaway each summer. At a young age, McGuire entered the bar business, first opening Dingy Dan’s and many others. He joined the FDNY in 1982 and retired in 2002, but has continued to serve as president of FDNY Boxing.
There are 10 Deputy Grand Marshals this year from all different backgrounds. Lt. Brendan Regis Mullaney, a Bayside native, has had a long career as a New York State Court Officer and is currently a Lieutenant in Manhattan Supreme Criminal Court. He is a proud member of the NYS Courts Emerald Society and the NYS Courts Pipes and Drum Band and the Fraternal Order of Police, as well as member of the Knights of Columbus and The Ancient Order of Hibernians. Irene Mattor, also a NYS Court Officer, is a Breezy Point resident since 2004. She’s been with the courts since 1997 and was elected as a union delegate in 2014. She is also a member of the NYS Courts Emerald Society and NYPD Emerald Society.
Broad Channel native Patrick Forde, is a boat captain who spent 10 years of working the Statue of Liberty Ferry, followed by the NYCDOT Staten Island Ferry since 2003. Forde joined Division 21 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 2001 and has served as Financial Secretary since 2017. Nora Paulette (Hurley) Casey, a native of Cork, immigrated to the Bronx and then moved to Rockaway with her family a few years later. Casey was a special education teacher for 23 years. She is an active member of the Knights of Columbus Columbiettes and has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary for 36 years, holding the office of President five times and has been theirTreasurer for the last 20 years. Her parents, Bill and Georgina Hurley, were founding members of the Hibernians in Rockaway.
Many locals know Marianne “Skippy” Doyle for her heavy involvement in St. Francis de Sales sports. She started as a volunteer coach with the Summer Classic, helps to run the 3 on 3 By the Sea tournament, and currently oversees the kindergarten soccer program and the kindergarten, first and second grade basketball clinic.
Sean Neal, president of DSNY’s Emerald Society since 2018, is a native of the Bronx, who resides in Pleasantville. Neal has worked for the New York City Department of Sanitation for the last 18 years, where he began his career as a Sanitation Worker and as worked his way up to the rank of District Superintendent currently in charge of the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Walter Sanchez, a lifetime Maspeth resident, is the publisher of several Queens and Brooklyn newspapers including the Queens Ledger, the Brooklyn Star Weekly Newspaper group and The Wave. He also serves on the board of directors of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, he is a trustee of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn/Queens and the president of the board of directors of The Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens.
Sheila Connors, a Brooklyn resident who lived in Rockaway, is Vice President of Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Rockaway-Breezy Point Division 25. Marshall, Steve L. Vera, who served in the U.S. Army, is the Command Sergeant Major for the 88th Area Command of the New York Guard, the largest unit in the NY State Defense Force. Last but not least, Hermelina “Lin” Zabala is the Senior Vice-President of the Patient Care Services and the Chief Nursing Officer of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.
Congratulations to all of the 2023 parade honorees!