Plans for the traditional St. Patrick's Day program in the Carbon-East Schuylkill area were furthered during a meeting of the Panther Valley Irish-American Association held Sunday afternoon at Kelly's Pub, Lansford.

Daniel McAndrew of Summit Hill was elected president. He succeeds William O'Gurek Jr., also of Summit Hill.

McAndrew will present the Shamrock Award during the evening of St. Patty's Day on Thursday, March 17, when the PVIAA holds its 64th Annual Banquet in The Grand Ballroom aty Kelly's. The recipient of the award, which goes to the person the organization selects as the "Irishman of the Year," will be announced at a later date.

Joining McAndrew as 2011 officers of the association are Tim Hoben, Coaldale, first vice president; Tim Kurchak, Lansford, second vice president; Tommy McCarroll, Mahoning Township, third vice president; Bob Ames, Coaldale, treasurer; John Tracy, Tamaqua, secretary; and TRim Sweeney, Coaldale, sergeant-at-arms.

During Sunday's meeting, the association heard a report from treasurer Ames regarding the association's ongoing benevolence program. In addition to sponsoring the traditional dinner, which dates back to 1948, the association utilizes its profits to make donations to needy programs in the area.

Ames said through the generosity of businesses and individuals who place advertisements in the dinner program, PVIAA has been able to help needy persons in trhe Panther Valley and Tamaqua areas. "We donate to food banks in Lansford, Summit Hill, Coaldale, Nesquehoning and Tamaqua, because those individual programs help the needy by providing food items to those who are less fortunate," Ames reported. The association also contributed to The Salvation Army, Tamaqua.

In other business, the association names various committees to help plan for the March 17 event, including the Recipient Committee which will select the Shamrock Award winner. That committee is compromised of president McAndrew, Tracy, Hoben, Emmett McCall of Lansford and Michael Crampsie of Summit Hill.

Initial plans have been released for the banquet, which will begin with a social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and followed by the dinner and program. O'Gurek, the association's immediate past president, will be the toastmaster and entertainment for the evening will be provided by the father-and-son folk duo of Pat and Shane McGeehan.

Tickets to the dinner can be obtained from the following association members: Summit Hill, Bob Crampsie and Billy O'Gurek; Lansford, Emmett McCall; Coaldale, Bob Ames and Tim Hoben; and Tamaqua, John Tracey and Tom McCarroll.