Vice President

Like all of you, I look at the desk calendar and wonder how to fit in or balance what is upcoming, along with what needs to get done. Those desk calendars work both ways though. They not only point us forward, but also provide a record of where we have been and what we have done (or didn’t get done!). I flip back and see the faces of wonderful AOH and LAOH people I was able to re-connect with at the New York State Convention in Pearl River, some of whom I have been blessed to know for decades. Then there was the Virginia State Convention. While the July heat wave rendered Richmond hot-hot-hot, the welcome of our AOH Brothers was both refreshing and invigorating. Two conventions — in two different regions — and one AOH. Great people and friends I never would have met if I had never joined the Hibernians. Something we should all think about often!

The LAOH National President’s Testimonial Dinner is on the calendar and “HATS OFF TO MARGARET HENNESSY!” She is a lady who has gone out of her way to assure that the AOH and LAOH partnership endures and thrives, with her own spirit of cooperation as an example for all of us.

The “Big Guy’s” dinner is set for October. National President Seamus Boyle has been extraordinary! I wish there were some way to clock the hours he has spent on planes, trains and automobiles — traveling to do the work of the Order during these past three years. However, it’s the many 5 a.m. (and sometimes earlier) emails that get one wondering if he ever really stops.

 

 

About Junior Divisions

During July and August, National Organizer Danny O’Connell and I worked on editing and committing to disk the “Information and Forms Packet” for establishing a Junior Division. Please contact me — brendanaoh@yahoo.com — if there is interest on your end. And thanks Danny.

 

 

About Major Degrees

For the past eight months, National Rituals Chairman Pat Shannon and National Historian Mike McCormack have been collaborating on editing and updating The Rituals Book. Copies have been made available to Chairmen of Major Degree Teams for study and reaction. Some preliminary discussion is planned for the October National Board meeting in Philadelphia, with further consideration and possible adoption set for the 2012 National Convention. Thanks Pat and Mike for all you do.

If you are within travel distance of the following locations, seek out your members who need to take the Major Degree; contact the appropriate people listed below if any of your members will be attending.

Please note that only those who are already AOH members are eligible to take the Major Degree.

 

 

DATE          DEGREE TEAM         DEGREE LOCATION      CONTACT               PHONE                   EMAIL

 

10-02-11      Tara Court MDT          Worcester, MA              Dick Thompson       617 755 8467     rthomp521@comcast.net

10-02-11      Isle of Erin MDT                Bucks County, PA         Jim Hansen                                       isleoferin6@gmail.com

10-09-11      Schenectady MDT      Schenectady, NY           Michael Glenn        518-505-3588     mglen2@nycap.rr.com

10-23-11      Tara Court MDT          Div 2, Suffolk, NY          Walter Butler          631-736-2171

10-23-11      Isle of Erin MDT          Philadelphia, PA            Jim Hansen                                       isleoferin6@gmail.com

11-12-11      Cu-Chulainn MDT       Monmouth County, NJ       Jack Sullivan                                     fenian1881@aol.com

 

Virginia News

The Virginia State Boards of the AOH and LAOH held its 2011 Biennial Convention July 22-24, 2011 at the Richmond Holiday Inn, Koger Convention Center.  In the Celtic tradition, all AOH and LAOH Divisions were invited to present performances that described their Divisions in order to win the first place in line for dinner. National Vice President Brendan Moore was the guest of honor and Keynote Speaker at the Convention Banquet. The following State Officers were elected for the 2011- 2013 term: J. Charles “Chuck” Curran of Burke, President; Bruce A. Denault of Stafford, Vice President; Eugene J. “Gene” Bransfield, Sr, of Alexandria, Secretary; and, William R. “Bill” Halpin of Locust Grove, Treasurer.  The State Board congratulates outgoing President Rich Aleksy and looks forward to the chartering of a new AOH Division in Alexandria by former National Director and native of County Offaly, Ireland, Pat Troy.

Irish American Heritage Month

Brothers, we are making progress! We are not yet where we need to be in getting March permanently designated as Irish-American Heritage Month, but the many outstanding events currently being reported to John Schell and Neil Cosgrove show that we, the AOH, are in fact leading the way.

President Obama once again issued his Presidential Proclamation designating March as IAHM. This has now been done by US Presidents every year since 1991. This is remarkable. I’m not sure how or why it happened, but we know that at least three federal agencies have actively observed March as IAHM, these being Department of the Navy, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection. There may be others – we are still searching.

In my article in the next issue I intend reporting on some of the more outstanding events you have held in March. The reports are still coming in. I do want to report on one event, though, that was so very noteworthy. Virginia state pro-life chairman, Joe Kennedy, a member of Fairfax County Division 2, had the idea of displaying thirty thousand flags on the field in front of St. Michael Parish in Annandale, VA. The number was to illustrate the magnitude of the number of abortions performed each year in Virginia. After several modifications to the plan, Joe was able to procure the required flags – the type used by utility companies to mark your underground utilities – ten thousand each of green, white and orange, displayed as a huge Irish flag! The plan was for it to be put up the day before St. Patrick’s Day, and come down the day after St. Patrick’s Day. However, after the pastor blessed the flags he decided the flags should stay up for two weeks, to make sure everyone could see and appreciate what it was all about. What a wonderful combination of Pro-Life and IAHM. It’s what we are all about!

Keep up the good work. I am encouraged that we are on the right track, and will eventually get March permanently designated as IAHM.

 

Veterans Affairs

Pictured (L to R) JJ Kelly, VA Delegate Edward T. Scott, VA State Board President Rich Aleksy, and VA State Veterans Affairs Chairman Bill Halpin.

On April 24th, I was pleased and honored to have been able to be a part of a presentation by Virginia Delegate Ed Scott to VA State Board President Rich Aleksy and Veterans Affairs Chairman Bill Halpin. The Commonwealth of Virginia has designated March 30th of each year as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day to honor the service and contributions of the Commonwealth’s Vietnam-era veterans. Co-sponsored by Delegate Ed Scott and Virginia State Senator Ed Houck, the bill, which was pushed by brother Halpin, passed unanimously through both houses. Per Delegate Scott at the presentation, this is an unusual occurrence. Thank you brother Halpin and all the Virginia state senators and delegates for this wonderful and appreciated piece of legislation.

I have received a request from one of our brothers for help on pursuing a claim through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, during 1957 through 1959. He believes the defoliants used at Gitmo during that period are responsible for the multiple cancers from which he now suffers. No such term such as Agent Orange existed at that time. As an aside, the term Agent Orange probably came from the color of the containers in which it was shipped. Anyway, if anyone has any information relating to use of defoliants at Gitmo during that period, please forward it to me so we can assist this brother in his VA claim.

Congratulations again to Black Jack Kehoe Division for their continuing support of Operation First Response and the Walk for the Wounded at Rose Tree Park, Media, PA, on May 22nd. By the time you read this, that march and its related activities will be history. I plan to join our brothers on that date for an outstanding event to help put a soldier back on his feet. The 2009 walk raised over $150,000. This year’s goal is $175,000. Donations to this wonderful organization can be made at www.operationfirstresponse.org.

Finally, please remember to thank a vet or an active duty soldier, sailor, airman or marine. They are a constant reminder that our cherished freedom is not free.