PAINTING THE TOWN GREEN: All roads lead to the Capital of Irish America for gala presentation evening on 26 April Eric Frick, Visit Buffalo-Niagra

Take a Bow: We Name Ten More Heroes Heading to Buffalo Irish Gala

The names of a further ten champions of Irish America set to be recognised at a gala Irish Echo celebration in Buffalo, NY on 26 April are being revealed ahead of the St Patrick's Day celebrations. 

The ten will join standout ambassadors for Irish America from across the U.S. at the awards evening which is being hosted by New York State Senator Tim Kennedy — frontrunner in the Special Election to Congress being held just days after the gala.

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The new cohort of honorees are:

Mary Catherine Kennedy: A Registered Professional Nurse and Professor Emeritus, now retired Catherine is a native Buffalonian who supports all Buffalo Irish activities. She is a member of the Gaelic-American Association of Women at the Buffalo Irish Center. A mum to five (including a State Senator and prospective Congressman) and grandma to 15, Catherine is a loyal patron of the Irish Classical Theatre in The Queen City.

William Cooley: Now retired, William served the Buffalo Police in myriad capacities including that of a detective assigned to the US Marshals Violent Felony Task Force (eight years) and a detective sergeant in the Buffalo Police Homicide Squad (six years.)  Presently serving as Undersheriff "for the greatest Sheriff in all of NY State and possibly this country, John Garcia."

Vincent Beach: Vincent Thomas Francis Xavier Beach is a proud Greater Clevelander and emigrant of Michigan. He joined the St. Pat's Gaelic Football Club in 1999 and, with much help, is the current caretaker of the Cleveland GAA. His spoken Irish is a cross of dialects from the University of Cincinnati and An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara. 

Maureen Stratmeyer: Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA  Maureen's mother was eight when she emigrated in 1925 from Donegal with her mother, father and three younger siblings. "I was raised with music and dance in the house," says Maureen, "and in my youth I loved to dance whether it be tap, ballet, jazz, acrobatic or, of course, Irish step dancing and Scottish dancing." Maureen is a retired accountant and a regular volunteer at Irish events in Pittsburgh. 

Molly Bakewell Chamberlin: Buffalo native Molly is Founder and President of Embassy Global, LLC, an all-virtual worldwide strategic technical marketing, PR, and business development consultancy serving the B2B high-tech components manufacturing and engineering communities. Embassy Global is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.

Daniel Higgins: A retired law enforcement officer, Daniel enjoyed a 35-year career on the policing frontlines serving in Buffalo, Rochester and across the Empire State. In 2016, he was selected to fill a vacancy in the Bureau of Special Services in Buffalo and shortly afterwards received a collateral assigned to the United States Marshal Service as a Task force Officer with the Western District of NY Regional Fugitive Task Force. He retired in May of 2022.

Sinead Kirnan: From Newburgh, NY Sinead is a C-17 Pilot and Captain in the NY Air National Guard. She started her military career in 2013 where she enlisted as a C-17 loadmaster. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Biology, Sinead began pilot training in 2019, flying multiple Air Force aircraft before completing C-17 school in 2021. Her love for aviation started as a young girl flying back and forth to Ireland to visit family. Sinead was the 2017 New York Rose of Tralee.

Nan Pischke: From Pittsburgh, PA, Nan celebrates her Irishness by participating in Céilí/Set dancing group at the Pittsburgh Céilí Club. She is a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 23, Lawrenceville. After 33 years serving the City of Pittsburgh in various roles, Nan is preparing for her retirement later this year. 

John Young: From Newry Co. Down, John has been deeply entrenched in the GAA community in the United States since emigrating three decades ago. He has been an integral member of the Pittsburgh GAA and volunteers to advance the development of Gaelic Games in the United States, holding a role on the board of the Continental Youth Championships (CYC), which oversees the largest youth Gaelic games tournament outside of Ireland.

Sammie Samuels: In her role as the Director of the Irish Railroad Workers Museum in Baltimore, MD, Sammie values the role that museums play in preserving cultural heritage and sharing historical stories. With a diverse professional background spanning five years and various roles, she has been promoting public engagement to enhance people's understanding of our cultural landscape. Sammie holds a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins, a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Midway University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Anthropology from UNC Charlotte. 

You can see our full list of honorees online. Tickets are now on sale with a ten-per-cent off early bird available.