The St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee of Jim Thorpe and Carbon County has selected a Nesquehoning man who has been involved in the Ancient Order of Hibernians since its inception in 1997 to serve as Grand Marshal of the 15th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Charles "Chuck" Thamarus of 157 W. Columbus Ave. will lead the 2012 parade down Broadway on Sunday, March 11, beginning at 1 p.m. The event is also dedicated to all veterans of all branches of the Armed Services, parade committee officials announced.

In addition to being a charter member of the A.O.H., Alex Campbell, Mauch Chunk Division 1, Thamarus has been active in the planning and directing of the annual parade since it began in 1998.

"The honor for Chuck is well-deserved," said Hugh Dugan of Jim Thorpe, a parade committee member who enjoyed the same role as grand marshal in 2010. "I've done it, and I know the feeling, so I know how Chuck must be feeling. He has been very, very active with the parade and the A.O.H., and he's participated in a number of state and national conventions."

Also announced by the A.O.H. and the Ladies A.O.H. were their selections for aides to the grand marshal. They include Francis Thamarus and Kevin Thamarus, brother and nephew of the grand marshal, respectively; Molly Ebbert and Kathleen Ahner (see related story in today's edition).

"To be selected as the grand marshal, it's an honor, oh my Heavens," Thamarus said. "You think about that kind of honor, and actually never think that it (the selection) will happen to you, and then it happens. The last two months, since they asked me to accept the honor, have been such a rise for me. I'm really looking forward to it."

Thamarus said his vow is to make sure the efforts of the A.O.H. remain strong in the region. "It seems to me, this is the first organization I have belonged to that really gets involved and its members go out of their way to help people. I think of things like giving food for the needy at Thanksgiving, or gift cards to help the less fortunate, and I am so thankful to be a part of that. It feels good. The reason a lot of us are in it for so long is because we don't want it to go away. A lot of the guys are just as dedicated to that then me, and, together, we want to continue to make a difference in people's lives."

"Every parade day morning," Dugan said, "we'd have a meeting at Mollies at 8 o'clock for all of the parade workers, and Chuck would give us a rah rah speech. I think it'll happen again, but it will be a special one for him this year, that's for sure."

Dugan said he remembers the Irish ancestry of Thamarus, explaining, "When I was a kid and we went to elementary school on Broadway in Mauch Chunk, Mulhearn's operated a little store down the street and we always went there for candy. The store was operated by Chuck's grandparents, Dietrich and Mary Mae Mulhearn. His grandfather was the chief of police of Mauch Chunk at the time."

"Chuck is super excited, and we couldn't be happier for him. It's a great honor for a great guy," Dugan noted.

Thamarus has played a steady and significant role in A.O.H. activities since it began locally.

Since then, he held the offices of President, Sentinel, Recording Secretary, in which capacity he currently serves, and, in 2007, was named "Hibernian of the Year" by the organization.

Born on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1948, he is one of seven children of the late Frank and Rose Thamarus, his siblings including brothers Francis, Edward and Paul, and sisters Rosemary, Jane and Cecelia.

Chuck is married to the former Doris Paul. The couple has three sons, Josuha, Glenn and Aaron, and two daughters, Mollie and Jodiann.

He graduated in 1966 from the Jim Thorpe Area Junior Senior High School, after which time he joined the Navy and was attached to the Naval Underwater Warfare Division at the Naval Ordnance Testing Station on San Clemente Island off the coast of California.

The grand marshal was employed by the former Monk Fur Company, Jim Thorpe, until its closing; was employed briefly by the Jim Thorpe Area School District; and then was hired by the Silberline Manufacturing Company, where for more than eight years he held the office of vice president of the United Steelworkers, Local 485. He retired after 25 years of service with the company.

After retirng, Thamarus attended PrimeTech Training for Computers, Lehighton, where he earned a CompTIA A+ certification.

In observance of the 15th anniversary of the parade, the parade committee has invited all past grand marshals or their representatives to participate in the 2012 event.

The deadline for parade participation registration is Thursday, March 1. To register, email Julie McDonald at julbird@ptd.net [1] or call 570-325-3942.

Thamarus will be honored at the A.O.H.'s Grand Marshal's Dinner on Friday, March 9, at the Mahoning Valley Country Club, Mahoning Township. A social hour will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 7 o'clock. Entertainment for the evening will be provided by George McDonald and "The Shantations."

For tickets, contact Noel Behan, 570-325-8056; Ronald Sheehan, 570-325-4244; or Hugh Dugan, 570-325-3359.

To advertise or offer congratulatory messages in the group's dinner program, contact Bernadette Behan, 570-325-8056. The deadline for advertising is Feb. 22.

Also, the annual celebration of Mass by the organization will take place on Saturday, March 10, at 4:30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Jim Thorpe.