Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) of New York has been named Grand Marshal of the 40th Annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade to be held on Saturday, March 7, in Rockaway Beach.
Cassidy leads the UFA, New York’s and the nation’s largest local firefighters’ union – representing over 8,100 active and 14,000 retired New York City Firefighters. 2015 also marks the FDNY’s 150th anniversary.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be selected to lead the march for the 40th Annual Queens St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” said Cassidy. “This event and what it means to generations of Americans of Irish heritage can simply not be measured. Our great nation was founded by immigrants, like my Irish grandparents and great grandparents, who came here to work hard and establish a better life for their children. For them to see one of their descendants honored at the head of the parade would bring great joy as it does to me.”
Queens Parade Committee Chairman Michael Benn said: “We honor members of labor and community organizations of Irish heritage who play a positive role in New York. Steve Cassidy is a prominent Irish labor leader who proudly promotes his Irish heritage and culture. Given this is the 150th anniversary of the FDNY and the significant contributions of New York City Firefighters across our city and locally, this was a natural selection.”
The parade, which attracts up to 50,000 spectators and features a number of marching bands, bagpipes, drummers and more, steps off at 1 p.m. at Beach 129th St. and Newport Ave., ending by the St. Camillus parking lot on Beach 100th St.
On Saturday, Feb. 21, from 7 p.m. to midnight, the Parade Committee will host its annual Queens County Ball at Antun’s, Queens Village, honoring Cassidy, U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley as Gael of the Year and John T. Dunleavy, chairman of Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade as Honorary Grand Marshal.
Also recognized will be the Deputy Grand Marshals including: Donna Moran, Ladies Auxiliary of Ancient Order of Hibernians; Dolores Orr, community board chair; Michael Leahy, Rockaway Youth Sports/Rockies Hockey; Frank Bagley, Knights of Columbus; LT Patrick O’Malley, NY State Court Officers Association; Dr. Jonathan Eckstein, St. John’s Hospital; Sean Price, Shannon Gaels Sports Club; Jimmy McGoorty, N.Y.C. Department of Sanitation; Brian O’Connell, principal, Scholars Academy; Thomas Murphy, Curran’s Meat Market; and Bridie Mitchell, New York Immigration Coalition and L.A.O.H.