It has been 15 months since the Cincinnati Convention and most of us wonder where the time has gone, as do I. It is an honor and privilege to serve my Hibernian brothers as the Chairman of Anti Defamation and National Director for the West.
It has been 10 years since I was first elected as a National Director. In some ways there are the same issues today as then, but also things have changed in many ways. The way people communicate today is much different than 10 years ago. We have the print media, television with network programs, talk shows, the Internet and social media such as You Tube, Facebook and Twitter.
With information being received much more quickly, it requires the National Board as an organization to disseminate information more quickly as well. This includes responses to those who choose to defame our religion and our Irish heritage.
These slanders seem to persist more often in the month of March, but they do occur each and every month of the year. It is our duty to be vigilant and to notify people and establishments that we do not appreciate the degrading of our Catholic faith or Irish ethnicity.
These past several months I have had a great time meeting our Hibernian brothers and sisters throughout this country. It seemed that both Lois and I have been living out of suit cases, but we have loved every minute of our travels. I assisted in installing California’s state board officers at their convention and at Montana’s state convention installing their state board officers. Congratulations to Ken Jamieson, the newly elected State Board President of California, and Tom Pahut, who was reelected State Board President of Montana. I wish them the best in leading their respected states.
In August I traveled to Pueblo, Colorado. Pueblo has a bit of AOH history. In 1884 there were two AOH Divisions in that city and the cathedral today has a stained glass window sponsored by the AOH. My trip to Pueblo was to make formal presentations to Kayla Cata and Elizabeth Manguso, two young ladies from Pueblo who won the top award for the National History Day. If Elizabeth and Kayla are any indication of the caliber of youth today, then we have nothing to worry about in our future.
While in Colorado we also attended the Lady of Knock Mass and LAOH picnic in Denver. The LAOH of Denver sponsored it. Our brother and sister Hibernians in Denver are wonderful hosts.
October was the AOH National President’s Dinner in Philadelphia. A big thank you goes out to Co-Chairpersons Nancy Cullen and Ed Dougherty for all their hard work in putting on such a wonderful function. The tours of the AOH Halls were a special treat. It was great to see the pride each member had for the history of their hall.
The one concern I continue to have is the isolated AOH divisions and how do we as a National organization support these divisions and assure them they are as important to us as any other member of this organization.