The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick – Hunterdon County (FSSP) are proud to name Mr. Michael Darcy as 2016 FSSP Parade Grand Marshal and Mr. Shaun Connolly as 2016 FSSP Irishman of the Year. Both men will be recognized and honored during this year’s FSSP Dinner Dance at The Farmhouse, Grand Colonial in Hampton on March 5th, 2016 along with over 200 Irishmen and Irishwomen who will gather to dine, dance celebrate their Irish heritage. The evening also features Irish dancing to music of Danny & The Boys; world class Irish step dancers and a traditional Irish-American dinner. Details of all FSSP events can be found at www.FSSPHunterdon.com
FSSP President Mr. Bernie Gallagher paid tribute to both honorees. “Both Mike and Shaun are past Presidents of the FSSP who exemplify our organizational ethos of culture, community and camaraderie. They have contributed in large amount to the success of the organization which has grown from an initial 8 members in 2008 to over 100 members today. Mike is also the Founding Father of the Parade which was first run in 2014 and has grown to be one of the highlights of the Hunterdon County social and cultural calendar in just three years. Shaun, as the most recent FSSP President, spearheaded the FSSP’s charitable works that has led to the donation of over $150,000 to worthy causes in Hunterdon County since the FSSP was formed. We are delighted to have such worthy individuals to recognize as part of our 2016 St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrations.”
On Sunday March 13th at 3:00 PM, the FSSP will host the 3rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade through the Town of Clinton. According to Parade Chairmen Rich Hall and Brian Manning the Parade will highlight Irish-American traditions and culture, including 5 Pipe & Drum bands, The North Hunterdon High School Marching Band, along with world class Irish dancers, musicians, singers, canine groups and much more. Local businesses that are major Parade co-sponsors include Argus Technology, Frey Engineering, Unity Bank, ShopRite Wines & Spirits, CenturyLink, Cryans Tavern, Montrose Molders, Provident Bank, Stone Hill Financial and Bill Healy Designs. Additional support comes from The Holiday Inn – Clinton, Hunterdon Healthcare, Lawn Doctor of Flemington & Clinton, Hidden Hollow Acres, True & Associates, and Tom & Denise McFadden.
The FSSP are also hosting a Parade Afterparty and awards ceremony at the Clinton Firehouse immediately following the Parade with music provided by The Patrick Clifford Band. Tickets are $20 and are available by emailing FSSPAfterparty@gmail.com
2016 Grand Marshal Bio – Michael J. Darcy
Grand Marshal Michael Darcy is a 24-year resident of Hunterdon County and served as the Parade Chairman for the first FSSP St Patrick’s Day parade in 2014. His path of community service in Hunterdon County stretches back to 1992 when his friend Ken Fischer recruited him to a committee that would eventually create the community-built playground “Field of Dreams” near Immaculate Conception Church.
In the intervening years Michael has worked on such community projects as converting school buildings and improving Boy Scout camp facilities; working on Habitat for Humanity projects and rehabbing group homes. As a Friendly Son of St Patrick since 2010, he has been fortunate to serve in such posts as funding Chair, Secretary, President, and FSSP Parade Chair.
Growing up in New Rochelle, N.Y. Michael was one of six children in the Darcy family. The family has roots in Cork, originally emigrating in the late 1880’s to Brooklyn. Some of the many names on the trunk of his family tree include Horgan, Healy, Markey, and Tully.
Michael met his life’s love Kim while an undergrad at Rutgers. They were married in 1991 and finally settled down in 1998 with the birth of Frederick. Both Kim and Frederick have volunteered at FSSP outings. Fred will be piping in today’s parade with St. Ann’s of Hampton Pipes and Drums. Kim is a Sunday school teacher who regularly volunteers at the Open Cupboard Food Pantry (a favorite charity of the FSSP).
If you need to get hold of Michael, he can be found most Saturday mornings at the Towne Restaurant in Clinton with his friends nicknamed the “Playgroup” who keep him grounded and loved.
2016 Irishman of the Year Bio – Shaun Connolly
This year’s Irishman of the Year honoree is Shaun Connolly is a 12-year resident of Clinton NJ who owes his Irish heritage to his mother Mrs. Margaret Hawe from Bronx, NY, whose parents were born in Ireland in the town of Kilkenny. Shaun’s father, a WWII veteran, was also born in Ireland before emigrating to the USA through England and eventually settling the family in Old Bridge.
Shaun has been hugely active in the local community and has served both as FSSP President from 2013-15 and also as a Third Degree Knight and former Deputy Grand Knight with the Knights of Columbus, Annandale Chapter 6245. Under Shaun’s leadership, the FSSP more than doubled its membership and greatly increased its charitable works in Hunterdon County.
Shaun was born in Kearny, NJ and raised in Old Bridge, NJ and studied engineering at NJIT and is now a Key Account Manager for Siemens Energy. He and Kathy have two grown daughters, Lindsay 25 who works in the fashion industry and Christina, 23 who is a student at Seton Hall, where his wife Kathy also is a Professor in the College of Nursing.
Frequent visitors to Ireland, Shaun and Kathy still have family in Kilkenny, and as Shaun puts it “All over the place!”
About the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick – Hunterdon County
The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Hunterdon County is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of Irish-American heritage, intent on promoting, embracing and enjoying Irish-American culture. Founded in 2008, the FSSP raises and distributes funds to families affected by medical bills, assists children with disabilities, supports Non-Profit Organizations that benefit people in need through volunteerism and other activities, while positively promoting Irish-American culture. In the past 8 years, the group has raised and distributed more than $150,000 across Hunterdon Co. The FSSP always welcome new members and hold monthly meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Clinton Elks, 211 Sidney Rd Pittstown NJ 08867 at 8PM. For more information and to reach out to the FSSP for assistance, or if you know an individual or family in need, please email FSSPHunterdon@gmail.com