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photo: Bridget O'Brien

Bridget O’Brien, 2016 Queens County Aide to the Grand Marshal

Growing up in an Irish-American household in Orange County NY, I was educated in Irish step dancing, singing Irish tunes, and most importantly, the importance of serving others. It was woven into my parents, Kathleen and Lawrence’s, tales of our rich culture, as well as taught in our Church St. Thomas in Cornwall, NY.

I watched my parents volunteer with organizations, and they modeled for me how I wanted to live my life. I have always associated helping others as part of being an Irish-American. Service is a gift my parents gave me and I look forward to sharing this gift with my five-year-old daughter, Fallon, and my three-year-old son, Desmond. Right now, they are happy to attend charity events with me and my husband, Frank.

In my decades of volunteer work for the Irish community, I am most proud of my work in bridging the gap between the older Irish community and its younger members. I also believe it’s important to help the larger world, and have done volunteer work for organizations that have helped other nations in need. The importance of connecting to all people of the world is paramount to me.

Being named an Aide to the Grand Marshal is a great honor and lifetime achievement for Irish-Americans in New York. Organizations affiliated with the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade each year choose an individual to represent their group as an Aide to the Grand Marshal.

Parade Chair Dr. John Lahey has described the Aides as the “best and the brightest in the Irish community.”

When I was named the Queens County Aide to the Grand Marshal for the 2016 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, I felt proud, but also humbled. The other 13 Aides are the crème de la crème of the Irish-American community. Most of the Aides each have several decades of service to their organizations and the community. Meeting the Grand Marshal, Senator George Mitchell, and my fellow Aides to the Grand Marshal has been an experience I will never forget and it has inspired me to expand my service.

I am proud to represent the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians of Division 15 in Queens, who nominated me to be an Aide to the Grand Marshal. But, as we march up Fifth Avenue on March 17, I am most thankful to my parents, for giving me the gift of service to others. It is because of them that I have been given this great honor.

Learn more about Bridget on her 2016 Aide to the Grand Marshal page here.