Aide to be honored at Antun’s On February 26th
Having a family member selected as an Aide to the Grand Marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade has traditionally been a once-in-a-lifetime event. But an Island Park, N.Y. couple has switched up tradition: Regina Begley was the 2016 Nassau County Aide to the Grand Marshal and this year, her husband, Peter, is wearing the ceremonial Aide’s sash representing Nassau County in the march up Fifth Avenue.
Back-to-back wife-and-husband Aides to the Grand Marshal is a first for the 256-year-old Parade, the world’s oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which steps off on Friday, March 17.
“Regina and Peter Begley represent the finest traditions of Irish-American woman and men who dedicate themselves to promoting the values of St. Patrick which the Hibernians and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade recognize,” said John L. Lahey, Chairman & CEO of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Board of Directors.
When Peter Begley met Regina McGannon in Long Beach, N.Y. in 1997, each was a member of The Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish cultural organization whose members are known as “Hibernians.” Soon, Regina said, “most of our free time became Hibernian time.” Each became officers on their Nassau County executive boards: Regina on the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and Peter on the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Regina currently serves on the New York State board of the Ladies AOH.
Peter says their Facebook friends frequently comment, “Don’t you two ever stay home?”
The Begleys have volunteered for the annual AOH Nassau County Feis for the past ten years. Regina handles Irish dance registration and stage scheduling. Peter, known as “the voice of the feis,” is head of the feis’ fundraising journal and “I also do the heavy lifting for any and all things dance-related!”
Despite full-time jobs, the couple also attends AOH social events throughout New York state and are regulars on the Hibernian social circuit of Communion breakfasts, Christmas dances and county balls.
And, there’s “marching season” as the month of March is called by die-hard parade goers. In addition to the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Begleys also march in the local St. Patrick’s Day parades held on weekends in Mineola, Rockville Centre, and Glen Cove on Long Island. In 2016, the Hibernians selected both Regina and Peter as the Aides to the Grand Marshal for the Glen Cove Parade.
When talking about her experience of marching up Fifth Avenue as an Aide, Regina says “it was THE best day of my life!” She laughed and said, “Of course, if Peter is within earshot, I quickly add, ‘except for the day I got married!’” Peter smiling, said “I know I would not be where I am today without her.”