John McArdle receives the annual Shamrock award
Nesquehoning Hose Co. No. 1 Fire Chief John P. McArdle, center, accepts the Shamrock Award from Eric Filer, president of the Irish-American Association of the Panther Valley, during the organization’s 72nd annual banquet on Sunday. At left is McArdle’s wife, Del Rey McArdle. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
John P. McArdle, second from left, who was honored by the Irish-American Association of the Panther Valley on Sunday, receives a plaque from the four fire departments of the Panther Valley. McArdle is Nesquehoning fire chief. Other fire chiefs are, from left, Joseph Greco of Lansford, Shawn Hoben of Summit Hill and Steven Polischak of Coaldale. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
The Irish-American Association of the Panther Valley held its 72nd annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet on Sunday and paid tribute to a Nesquehoning man who has been both a firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician for more than four decades.
John P. McArdle, who has served as fire chief of Nesquehoning Hose Co. No. 1 for the past 28 years, received the club’s Shamrock Award.
Eric Filer, president of the Irish-American Association, presented McArdle with the award.
When he received the award, McArdle said, “A lot of what I did and what I do would go back to my wife.”
His wife, Del Rey, sat next to him.
He said that the Irish-American Association has an annual tradition. Relating to his service to the community, McArdle said, “The most important part is holding onto tradition and making that a part of your family.”
His two sons, Brenden and Shawn, both are assistant fire chiefs. Brenden is an assistant chief in East Penn Township and Shawn is an assistant chief in Nesquehoning. His brothers are also involved in the fire service.
The banquet, attended by more than 100 people, was held at the Hilltop Community Center in Summit Hill.
A moment of silence was held for two previous Shamrock Award winners who have died since last year’s banquet. They are Emmett P. McCall, who received the award in 1990, and Robert E. Ames, the 1987 award recipient.
Besides the Shamrock Award, various other honors were bestowed upon McArdle.
A large plaque with a firefighter’s ax on it was presented by four fire departments in the Panther Valley. Making the presentation were fire chiefs Shawn Hoben of Summit Hill, Joseph Greco of Lansford and Steven Polischak of Coaldale.
Robert Crampsie presented a citation from the Pennsylvania Senate on behalf of state Sen. John Yudichak. He read a paragraph from the citation which said “any definition of a full and productive life must include service to others.” He asked, “Is that John McArdle?”
State Reps. Doyle Heffley and Jerry Knowles presented plaques from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
All three Carbon County Commissioners spoke highly of McArdle.
Nesquehoning’s mayor proclaimed March 17, 2019, as “John P. McArdle Day.” The Nesquehoning Borough Council adopted a resolution honoring McArdle.
Brandon Gurka was the toastmaster. The invocation and benediction were offered by the Rev. Allen Hoffa, administrator of St. Joseph Parish of the Panther Valley.
Entertainment was by Pat and Shane McGeehan.
Ten previous Shamrock Award winners attended the dinner: Paul McArdle, James Crampsie, Robert Crampsie, Shawn Hoben, Jerry Knowles, Gene Binder, Bobby O’Gurek, Kathy Crampsie, Mike McCall and Alice Kane.