New York News

Leitch Wins 2010 New York State AOH Scholarship

Pictured at the check presentation ceremony (L-R) St. Patrick's Division 2 President James Dawes, Alex, and his father Brian Leitch.

The Scholarship Committee of The NYS Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians recently announced Alexander J. Leitch of St. Patrick’s Division #2, located in Babylon, in Suffolk Co., NY as the individual winner of the 2010 scholarship contest. This competition is conducted throughout the entire state annaully with a cash prize of $2000 , based on maintained merit over a four year period. Alex graduated in the top ten from Babylon Jr/Sr High School in their AP Honors program, and was a member of the AOH Jr. Boys at Division 2, he is the son of Bro. Brian H. Leitch and his mother Gwynn.  Leitch started his climb to the State Award by also winning the Division 2, Maurice R. Quinlan Memorial Scholarship for 2010. This Scholarship carries with it a $3000 award, over four years. Alex is currently attending Hofstra University, where he was given the Presidential Award and is participating in their Honors College For Music Education, a field he plans to pursue.

Stafford Named Glen Cove Grand Marshal

Andrew Stafford at the 2009 Parade

The Glen Cove St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee – the only Hibernian run St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Nassau County – named Andrew Stafford the Grand Marshal in its 23rd annual march to take place March 20, 2011. Stafford, 48, immigrated to the United States with his wife Pauline back in 1988 and settled into the North Shore of Long Island. As someone dedicated to Irish culture, he joined the AOH in 1996, receiving his Major Degree the following year. During his tenure in the Order, Andrew served as Division 8’s Marshal, Vice President – a position he held three times – and President.  And ever since he joined the Order, he served on the Parade Committee, acting as Treasurer early on and then holding a 10 year tenure as Chairman from 2001-2010. Due to his dedication to the AOH and also the Glen Cove St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Committee unanimously named his Grand Marshal of the 2011 Parade. He lives with his wife Pauline and daughters Aisling and Caoimhe in Locust Valley, NY.  Stafford will be aided by AOH New York State Secretary Jim Burke and LAOH New York State Secretary Carol McTigue.

Division 16 Makes Annual Donation

: Pictured (L – R) Veronica Yates – President Ladies AOH, William McCormack – President AOH, Grace Murphy – past President LAOH, Michelle Quirello – President Hospice Care, Ed Reilly – Treasurer AOH, Dan Hickey – Financial Secretary AOH, James McHugh Fund Drive Co Chair AOH, Kevin Galvin – Recording Secretary AOH, Margaret McHugh – LAOH, Ann Cullinane – LAOH

On November 30, 2010 the AOH Division 16 and Ladies AOH Division 16 donated $5,239.00 to Hospice Care of Westchester/ Putnam Counties. The presentation was made at the annual “Tree of Life “ceremony held at the Holiday Inn in Mount Kisco, NY. Hospice Care, (Visiting Nurse Association) a non-profit home health care agency provides home health services to patients with advanced illnesses.

On December 18, 2010 the AOH donated $5,239.00 to Rosary Hill Cancer Center located in Hawthorne, NY. Rosary Hill Home is run by the Dominican Sisters and provides hospice care for incurable cancer patients who are unable to afford care for themselves.

Since 1992 the AOH has donated $179,453.00 to Hospice Care of Westchester/Putnam and Rosary Hill Home in Hawthorne, NY and other organizations.  The fund raising drive was administered by Chairwoman Grace Murphy and Co-Chairman James McHugh. The Division is grateful to the following parishes for their help- St. Patrick’s-Armonk, St. Elizabeth Seton-Shrub Oak, St. Mary’s-Katonah, St. John’s-Chappaqua, St. Mathias-Bedford, St. Patrick’s-Yorktown, St. Patrick’s-Bedford, St. Francis of Assisi-Mount Kisco, and St. Lawrence O’Toole-Brewster

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 16 was formed on September 13, 1891 consisting of men of Irish descent and practicing Roman Catholics living in the northern Westchester County area. The Division has a long and distinguished history of supporting different community groups in the area as well as hosting northern Westchester’s annual Mount Kisco St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1991.  The Division is pleased to announce that our St. Patrick’s Day parade will be held on Saturday March 12, 2010 in Mount Kisco. For further information or an application please write to the above address, email President William McCormack at, or visit our website at

John King Named Nassau County’s Aide to the Grand Marshal of 2010 St. Patrick’s Day Parade

John and Geraldine King with Grand Marshal Mary Higgins Clark

Nassau County AOH and LAOH are proud to present John King as their 2011 Aide to the Grand Marshal for the 250th St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

John joined AOH Division 7 in 1990.  He has served as President of that division and is currently Financial Secretary.  John also serves on the Nassau County Board as Political Education Chair and sends emails daily to all the divisions.  John attends all meetings, parades, marches, and pro-life rallies in the NY area, Albany, and Washington DC.  John is a active member of the Nassau County AOH Feis Committee raising funds for the commemorative journal.

John and his wife Geraldine for 34 years have three married sons, John, Jack, and Joseph.  They have one granddaughter, Keira.  He considers it a great honor to be selected as an Aide to the Grand Marshal, Mary Higgins Clark.

Niagara County Division 1 past Division president Bill Paterson and Scholarship chairman Jim Andrews presenting a check to Samantha Martineau of Niagara Catholic High school for her first year scholarship. Division 1 sponsors four students each year, one in each High school grade.

Niagara County Division 1 President Michael McNerney presenting a check to Sisters Beth and Barbara of the local Heart and Soul. The food pantry serves meals daily for those in need. Division One supports the Heart and Soul both financially and by serving.

Members of Division 15 in Massapequa, NY enjoyed their annual Christmas Dinner Dance and Annual Installation on December 12th. Pictured (L – R) Thomas Rooney, Mike Greene, Ken Ferguson, Division 15 President Padraic Nugent, Frank Ryan, Jim Wall, John Hennessey, Mike Byrne, Joe Campbell, Jim Burke, Tom Kinnally

The men and Ladies of the East Durham, NY, Mass Rock Divisions 2 and 32 respectively, installed their new officers on December 5. Tim O’Sullivan was re-elected AOH President and Patricia Steinhauer took the reins for the LAOH. The Divisions were installed by Kevin Cummings and Maryann O’Sullivan. The divisions host the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in East Durham.

Watervliet AOH Supports Senior Center

Pictured (L – R) Jeff Collett (Division President), Barbara Collett, Bruce Hidley, John McAvoy, John McAvoy Jr., Theresa Ashline (Exec. Director of Senior Center), Scott Gardner and Sister Jane.

Receiving word that the Watervliet Senior Citizen Center’s annual Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t going to happen this year due to lack of funds, the Watervliet AOH Division responded.  The William F. Fennelly AOH Division in Watervliet, New York, presented a $1500 check to the Watervliet Senior Center to fund the annual event.

Jeff Collett, Division President, and the Division officers recognized how important the event is to the men and women of the Senior Citizen Center, especially since many of the members do not have families or somewhere else to go to have Thanksgiving dinner.

“We felt it was very important that the residents of the Senior Center, members of our community, including some Brother and Sister Hibernians, continue to have this very special tradition of celebrating dinner with each other,” said President Collett.

Many Division officers and members proudly represented the Division when the check was presented to the Senior Center.  Representatives from the Senior Center reported the seniors are extremely grateful to have the support of the Hibernians in keeping the Center’s wonderful tradition and event going.

AOH Old Newsboys

Rich Walsh and AOH Syracuse Division President Dave Lynch kicking off the "AOH Old Newsboys Christmas Toy Fundraiser"

Over 40 volunteers from the Syracuse Commodore John Barry Division’s “AOH Old Newsboys” team hawked special editions of the Syracuse Post Standard on December 10th & 11th raising $15,400 for the Syracuse Christmas Toy Fund. The “Old Newsboys” Newspaper sale is a 78 year old Syracuse tradition sponsored by the Syracuse Post-Standard that originated in the Depression to buy coal to help heat the homes of the poor. All of the proceeds raised now go to the Syracuse Christmas Bureau (a joint venture of the United Way & Salvation Army) to buy food, toys and clothing for needy families at Christmas. This year on December 22, 2010 saw 2,700 families and kids pick up food, clothing and toys at the downtown OnCenter to make their Christmas a bit brighter.

Eight AOH father & son pairings were noted as well as one grandfather –grandson team selling the newspapers in 30 degree weather.  The Syracuse AOH team led by “Captain” Rich Walsh set a record for the 8th year in a row as the top money raiser of the 25 teams participating. 2010 was the Syracuse AOH’s 41st year participating in the Syracuse communities Old Newsboys Newspaper Sale Fundraiser.


New Candidates Announcing National Office Intent

As we enter the home stretch towards the biannual Nation Convention and election of officers for the Order we are receiving official announcements of members seeking higher office.

New Jersey State President Jere Cole has announced that he will run for AOH National Office this July in Cincinnati Ohio at the National Convention.  Jere’s Irish heritage has always been an important aspect of his life.  It is this pride that has led him to become involved in a number of Irish American organizations.  Among these organizations is the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division #9, Essex County New Jersey for the past 20 years.  Jere has chaired a number of committees & is currently a past president, and also serves on the State Board of the AOH executive committee where he was elected to the Hibernian Charity Board and is currently the New Jersey State Board President.  Jere is also an active member of the following organizations: The Cryan Association, Giblin Association, Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, Heritage Festival Ball past chairman, Vailsburg Irish American Association, Essex County Emerald Society, Irish American Cultural Institute, Ironbound Irish American Association, The Irish American Assn. of Northwest Jersey, Frank McGovern Association, Belleville Irish American Association and the Joseph Nugent Sr. Association. Jere is an active member of the Newark Saint Patrick’s Day Parade committee. He has held numerous positions including General Chairman 2003-04 and is also a member of the West Orange Saint Patrick’s Parade committee.  Jere was the General Chairman of the 30th Annual New Jersey Irish Festival in June of 2000.

Joe Dougherty of North Carolina announced that he will run for National Secretary.  Joe’s resume includes serving as Past National Director, Past South Carolina State President, Past South Carolina State Organizer, Past South Carolina Division President.  He is currently a Division President in North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Board Vice President and serves as North Carolina State Organizer.  As he looks forward towards his campaign for National Secretary at the 2010 National Convention in Cincinnati, Joe stated, “My platform will be very simple, it is time to move the office of National Secretary into the 21 Century.”

National Pro-Life Chair and Immediate Past New York State President Matt Nelligan recently announced his candidacy for the office of National Director. Elected as State President at age 34, he was the youngest person to be elected to the presidency. During his time in office, he made significant progress toward modernizing the recruitment and public relations efforts of the AOH. In addition, he helped to raise more than $20,000 for AOH related charities and expanded our Order into two counties that had never before had an AOH Presence. In February of 2008 he was selected by the Irish Echo newspaper was one of the top 40 Irish-American leaders under the age of 40 in the United States.

A member of the AOH since 1992, Mr. Nelligan served on the NYS AOH board since 1999 in every elected office including the offices of President, vice president, treasurer and secretary. He was selected to be general chairperson for the 2007 New York State AOH convention and in 2008 was appointed as the National Chairman of Pro-Life.  As National Pro-Life chairman Matt has worked hard to engage our membership on important public policy issues and to expand our presence at the annual March for Life in Washington DC.  Professionally, Mr. Nelligan serves as the Committee Director for the New York State Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee as well as Legislative Director for its Chairman Senator George Maziarz. Matt is also President of the Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival– one of the largest celebrations of Irish culture in the United States – marking its 14th anniversary in 2010. Since its inception, the not-for-profit festival has raised more than $350,000 to assist local and Irish charities.

Mr. Nelligan is a past Hibernian of the Year for his Division in Albany NY and has also been recognized as the recipient of the prestigious Father John Murphy award in 2008. In 2009, he was also recognized by his brothers from Division 9 in New York City as their “Guest of Honor”.  Matt is a past committee member and one-time committee chairman of the Doors of Hope benefit concert that raised more than $50,000 for Father Des Wilson’s Community Centers in Belfast and Derry and is a past Vice-Chairman of the Irish American Heritage Museum.  A graduate of Siena College in Loudonville NY, he received his master’s degree from The College of St. Rose in Albany NY. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Guilderland NY with their two daughters, Molly and Emily.

Montana’s O’Connor Announces Bid for National Director With the full support of his Brother Hibernians, Montana’s Mike O’Connor has announced his intent to seek the office of National Director at the 2010 National Convention in Cincinnati. A member of the Thomas Francis Meagher Division of the AOH for nearly 25 years, he has held his Major Degree since 1991 when the Tara Court Major Degree Team came to Montana.  Following his service as Division and State Presidents, he became active nationally by arousing the interest in the West for the AOH.  Mike was elected to the position of National Director in 2000 and re-elected in 2002.  Brother Mike continues to be very active in AOH activities in Montana.  Just this past year Mike was part of the committee responsible for erecting a monument to Thomas Francis Meagher in Fort Benton, the location of his demise.  It was a difficult year to take on such a project considering the country’s economic downturn, but it was a huge success and a great Irish celebration.  Mike says, I would like to bring back to the National Board that “can do” attitude we have here in Montana. Mike has always considered it an honor to be a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and a great privilege to serve as an officer. He asks Brother Hibernians across the country to support his effort in seeking the position as National Director.