President Boyle Addreses AOH on the 175th

The 2011 President’s Dinner was held in Philadelphia on October 8, and all who attended raved about the grand event. Also at the dinner, the presentation of the Sean MacBride Award was made to the highly deserving Clara Reilly.

National AOH President Seamus Boyle addressed the dinner’s participants, and his speech is reprinted here.

 

“Rev. Clergy, distinguished guests, National, State, County and Division officers of the AOH and LAOH, family and friends, and especially our recipient of the prestigious Sean MacBride award, Clara Reilly, thank you for attending this evening’s festivities.

I know many of you have traveled quite a distance, both from here in the States and Ireland so I hope you enjoy your night and have a safe trip home. (It’s not over yet, that is usually said at the end of the speech).

As most of you know, this year is our 175 Anniversary of the formation of the AOH in America and we did have a great celebration in New York City in May, which many of you attended. This Anniversary celebration that has been ongoing throughout 2011, took over a year of hard work on the part of many people to accomplish. I would like to single out two people, Ed Wallace, chairman of the Anniversary Committee, and Mike McCormack, who was responsible for the beautiful Souvenir Journal that is on your table tonight. I think we owe a round of applause to both of these gentlemen.

It is almost 14 years since I was elected to the National Board of the AOH and I must say it has been one hell of a ride. Although I have had many great times, there were also some sad times that came with the positions I held. Some great friends in the organization have passed on, as have some of my own family, and it is at times like this that I miss them most.

Tom Gilligan, Past National President, who encouraged me to get involved and run for office, told me it was a piece of cake, but Tom always did exaggerate. And my brother, Mike, told me I was nuts, but he meant it. The people I have met on my travels throughout this great country of ours have treated me with the utmost respect, whether they agreed with my policies or not, and I have remained friends with many of them.

The Board that I have worked with over the past 4 years has supported me in all my decisions, and I have always included them in making these decisions because I have learned that one man cannot run a ship by himself. Your Board has made great strides and has made many decisions that may not have been popular but it is easy for one to make popular decisions, but a lot harder to make the right decisions, and as far as I am concerned we have made the right decisions over the past 4 years.

For 174 years, our organization has had no registered Trademark or Copyrights to our name or logo. But today, thanks to our Legal Counsel George Clough, we are now registered. We have contracted with Harris Connect, at no cost to us, to do a history of the AOH, by the AOH members themselves, telling their story about their state, county or division or their own personal story of how they came to be in the area where they now reside. Our online edition of the Hibernian Digest has been a great source of information to our members. We are now in the process of gathering emails and updating our membership list so as to save time and money on communications. There are so many other things that we have done as a board but most of you know what has been accomplished and I will leave it at that. The board we have today is one of the best boards I have ever worked with and they continue to serve you in a most effective way.

Tonight is a night to celebrate. Celebrate our heritage with the music from the Willie Lynch Band. Celebrate our Religion, which we just did at our beautiful Mass celebrated by our National Chaplain Fr. Tom O’Donnell and our two Deputy Chaplains Fr. Reid and Fr. Pearce, not to forget the beautiful voice of Louise Donnelly, our vocalist.

Celebrate a woman who has fought for many years for peace and justice in Ireland, Clara Reilly. Celebrate our history by reading the history in our Anniversary Journal and educating our friends, family and especially our children of the history of our ancestors. Celebrate our health by being able to be here tonight with our friends and family and celebrate our peace in Ireland, fragile as it might be but much better than it was even 15 years ago.

I would like to thank all of you for attending the festivities tonight, especially all of my family from here in the States and from Ireland. My relatives from Ireland who came here for the wedding last week, about 12 of them, are like grandchildren: I like to see them come but I love to see them go back — and that works both ways when I go back they feel the same, here he comes when is he leaving. My children, Mike and Tara, Bronagh who was married last Saturday and is on her honeymoon and opted to miss this affair, but most of all my wife, Berna, who puts up with me all of the time but especially when I ask her, can you pack a bag for me quick, I forgot to tell you I am going to Montana or Georgia or someplace else in the morning. Thank you all especially you, Berna, have a great night, enjoy the band and have a safe trip home.

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175th Update

After many months of planning for our 175th Anniversary and the hard work by the chairman, Ed Wallace, and especially his on the scene men, Tom Bierne and Jim Burke, and the rest of the committee, a decision has been made to have a Mass and a reception on May 21st 2011 at Old St Patrick’s Church in Lower Manhattan. The Mass has been set for 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception in the Youth Center across the street from the church. National Chaplain, Father Tom O’Donnell will be in contact with Archbishop Dolan to see if he can say the Mass.

Originally, the committee and the National Board had set aside Columbus Day weekend, October 7-9th in New York City, but this just proved to be too cost prohibitive. For a 2 night stay in a hotel, busing to and from Old St Patrick’s, and a banquet outside the Hotel, (which would be much cheaper than in any hotel) would cost approximately $700-$800 PER PERSON, without travel expense, parking or bringing your spouse. We felt, that in this economy, it was not feasible for our members to attend at such a cost. It was then agreed that a one day celebration, closer to our original organizational date, on Saturday, May 21st, was set.

The National Board meeting, in conjunction with the National President’s Dinner, would be held on the original date of Columbus Day weekend, October 7 – 9th, with the meeting and dinner on Saturday October 8th 2011, in Philadelphia. This would be less expensive and we will continue the celebration of our 175th anniversary at this function. So we will have a celebration in NY on May 21st and the National Board meeting in conjunction with the National President’s Dinner & the Sean MacBride award in Philadelphia on the weekend of October 7th-9th.

We are asking those who can attend the Mass and reception on May 21st to contact Ed Wallace at 315-686-3917 / ewallac2@twcny.rr.com as we will need a head count as soon as possible.

In conjunction with the 175th anniversary, we have an add journal which will be distributed at the President’s Dinner for those advertisers attending or will be mailed to all others. This Journal will be a history of the AOH for the last 175 years, as well as any division, county or state board who wants to write the history of their entity and sponsor that page. Our Historian, Mike McCormack is the chairman of that committee with Tom O’Donnell as the person to contact to write your own history or sponsor a page. The Journal Committee, besides Mike and Tom consists of Phil Gallagher, John Ridge, John Gara and others who wish to contribute. Contacts for both of these men are: Mike McCormack 631-732-1390 / aohbard@optonline.net and Tom O’Donnell 215-698-7434 / nlnod@comcast.net

For the celebration we have struck a Commemorative Coin. These are a beautiful bronze coin with one of the oldest AOH Logo’s (1890′s) on the front side and the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell on the reverse side. Jere Cole is the chairman for the coins and Sean Pender is also on this committee. Jere Cole can be contacted at : 973-632-7914 or jcole4838@aol.com. Sean Pender at paddyspeed@yahoo.com You may purchase a coin immediately so you get a lower number as all coins are numbered and will be sold in the order they are received.   A form and a check must accompany each purchase so a list of numbers can be tracked. The form will be in each digest until the August/September edition.

The dinner committee will be chaired by Ed Dougherty & Nancy Cullen. Ed can be contacted at: 215-338-4315 or eddoc215@verizon.net and Nancy’s contact is 215-322-0223 or ncp806@verizon.net More information will follow.

We are asking all division, county and state boards to celebrate our 175th year in existence. Take the time to write the history of your division, county or state or if you are relatively new or do not want to write the history, sponsor one of the many pages written by our National Historian. We are also asking each division, county and state to celebrate our anniversary throughout the entire year with a mass at some point and for our State Conventions to do something special to commemorate this pinnacle of our Order. How many organizations do you know who have achieved this honor of being in existence for 175 consecutive years? Right after the New Year a mass mailing will be sent out with all the information, forms, contact information and everything you will need to partake in this special time of our Organization’s festivities.

You may contact the Ad Journal Committee, Tom O’Donnell, Commemorative Coin Chairman Jere Cole or Sean Pender, or Dinner Committee co Chairs Ed Dougherty or Nancy Cullen immediately for more information, to purchase coins, to sponsor or submit History ads or the make reservations for the dinner. ALL OF THEIR CONTACT IS ABOVE.

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