VICTOR IZZO/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Receiving the honor of the title of Grand Marshall for the 2010 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Jim Thorpe next Sunday was AOH charter member Hugh Dugan.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians, Alec Campbell , Mauch Chunk Division I, Carbon County held it's 13th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal Dinner in the Grand Ballroom at Kelly's Irish Pub in Lansford on Saturday night.
The Grand Marshal Dinner was held in preparation for the 13th Annual Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade to be held on Broadway in Jim Thorpe on Sunday, March 14th.
In recognition of the member who best exemplifies Hibernian motto of Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity, AOH President Matt Stinson introduced and made the presentation for the 2010 "Hibernian of the Year" award to sisters Joan and Jean O'Donnell.
Four Aides to the Grand Marshal also were presented with parade sashes and introduced to those in attendance. The four Aides included Rita O'Donnell, Marie Mriss, Noel Behan, and Ron Sheenan.
Receiving the honor of the title of Grand Marshal for the 2010 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Jim Thorpe was AOH charter member Hugh Dugan.
While not native-born to the Emerald Isle, Hugh Dugan is a true Son-of-Ireland if ever there was one. Hugh, who was born in Coaldale on July 29, 1943, spoke proudly of his Irish heritage.
He served on active duty for 22 years in the U.S. Coast Guard until his retirement as a Master Chief Petty Officer in 1984. During that time he was awarded two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, five Coast Guard Good Conduct Awards, the Coast Guard Humanitarian Service Medal, the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Hugh also worked as a Window Clerk at the Post Office in Jim Thorpe and retired from there after 20 years of service.
Hugh and his wife Fran have been married 45 years and they have three daughters, Theresa, Denise, Maureen and a son Michael. They are also the proud grandparents of nine grandchildren and are members of Immaculate Conception Church in Jim Thorpe.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the banquet were Congressman Paul Kanjorski; County Commissioners William O'Gurek and Charles Getz; County Controller Bob Crampsie; Recorder of Deeds Emmett McCall; Jim Thorpe Borough Council President Justin Yaich; Representative John Yudichak of Nanticoke; Hon. Tom Leighton, Mayor of Wilkes-Barre; and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, Carbon County Treasurer Ron Sheehan.
Prior to giving her Parade Committee report, Program and Fund Raiser Chairwoman Bernadette Behan spoke of the tragic fire in December of last year that took the life of a dear friend Sharon Joseph and her down-stair's neighbor and she announced that when the door prizes for the banquet were awarded at the end of the event, each door prize winner would also receive a new smoke alarm and extra replacement battery for it in the hope that they will help prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
The 2010 parade will consist of 10 units of local, county, state, and federal government; six military and veteran's groups; four AOH and LAOH divisions from Carbon, Lehigh, and Northampton counties; fifteen emergency service departments representing fourteen of the twenty three Carbon County municipalities; fifteen bands; one school of Irish dance; 818 marchers, and over 151 vehicles.
In his closing remarks, Master of Ceremonies Ron Sheehan said "I just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe parade day and a happy St. Patrick's Day! As always as we celebrate the feast of this great saint let us be reminded that we do this in his honor for his sacrifice, his sincere faith, and his love for the people and country of Ireland."