2016 Colleen and her Court
Stephanie Garner of Springfield, Grace Sullivan of Longmeadow, Colleen Abigail Laughlin of East Longmeadow, Sarah Wilczynski of Ludlow, and Alexis Oliver from East Longmeadow
2016 Springfield Parade Marshal
The late Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan.
The Springfield St. Patrick’s Parade Marshal is someone who has distinguished himself or herself in their chosen profession and who has contributed greatly to the Irish community of Springfield.
Tommy was the son of Jerry and Betty Sullivan and his Irish Roots hail from County Kerry and County Cork. Ireland.
Born and raised in the East Forest Park Section of Springfield, and was the middle child of three children, with an older sister Dianne and younger brother, Joseph. Tommy attended Holy Cross School and Cathedral High School where he played football. Tommy earned a degree in Criminal Justice from The American Military University. This year he will also be awarded a Master’s Degree in Human Resources from The American Military College, posthumously.
Tommy so loved his community and country he joined the U. S. Marines on September 2, 1997 and earned the title of Gunnery Sergeant on October 1, 2011. While serving our country, Tommy completed two tours of duty in Iraq and had recently been deployed to Korea. He had a much decorated military career which included a National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Recruiting Ribbon, Korean Defense Service Medal, Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Medal. He was also a five time recipient of the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon as well as four time recipient of the Good Conduct Medal and two time recipient of the Purple Heart which was awarded for his two tours of duty in Iraq. In April of this year his family will travel to Chattanooga, TN to accept a third Purple Heart on his behalf.
Tommy also loved his community and his family were so important to him. While home on deployment he would speak to the students at Holy Cross School intriguing them with stories about his job in the military and would tell them how much he loved his family and country.
Unfortunately Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J. Sullivan, gave his life while defending his country on Thursday July 16, 2015 during an attack on a Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, TN. Tommy loved being a Marine and was a huge fan of the Dropkick Murphy’s. But most of all, he loved being an uncle to his nephew Connor and three nieces, Mary Kate, Nikki and Chloe. Besides his parents, Jerry and Betty and siblings, Dianne and Joe, he also left behind an adoring grandmother, Mary Vecchiarelli. Not only was Tommy a symbol of how much he loved his Irish heritage, he is a true American hero and so deserving of the title of 2016 Springfield St. Patrick’s Parade Marshal.
Representing Sgt. Sullivan are brother Joe, sister Dianne,father Jeremiah and mother Mary.
The John and Agnes Burke Award Winner
The John and Agnes Burke Award is presented annually in memory of both John and Agnes Burke for their lifelong commitment and support to their Irish heritage. This year we have picked a person who was born in Ireland and for many years has shown outstanding service to the Irish Community, the City of Springfield and the John Boyle O’Reilly Club: Phil Hanrahan.
Phil was born in a little village near Kilmaine, County Mayo, Ireland. She is the oldest of nine children. She immigrated to the United States in 1963 and became an American Citizen in 1968. Phil lived in Hartford initially and enjoyed the dances at the Irish Club, where she met her husband Joe. In 1970 they married and she moved to Springfield where she continued her love of Irish music, singing and dancing at the John Boyle O’ Reilly Club. Phil’s husband, Joe, comes from County Clare, Ireland, and they currently live in Hampden. They are the parents of two living children, Susie and Christopher, and their greatest joys are their six grandchildren, who give Phil that special sparkle in her eye.
She has been a member of the Parade Committee for several years and currently serves as recording secretary. Since her retirement from the Law Offices of William J. Fennell four years ago, Phil has led a very energetic life. She has been an active member and volunteer at the John Boyle O’Reilly Club, helping with the SIDS Road Race, The Irish Music Festival, The Breakfast Committee, The Honor Guard and other fundraising events. She is a communicant at St. Mary’s Church in Hampden where she also serves as a Eucharistic minister. Phil is also a member of the Scholarship Committee and a dynamic volunteer at The Hampden Senior Center, as well as assisting elderly neighbors with meals and transportation. She recently joined the staff at Byron Keenan Funeral Home on a part-time basis.
Joey, Billy and Laurie Christofori
Mary B. Troy Appreciation Award Winner
The Mary B. Troy Appreciation Award in given to a person or business that is not a member of the Springfield St. Patrick’s Parade Committee but has given outstanding service to the Springfield St. Patrick’s Parade Committee as well as the City of Springfield.
This year’s recipients are Joey, Billy and Laurie Christofori.
Laurie, Billy and Joe Christofori are the children of the late Dante and Florence Christofori. They are the Co-founders of the Dante and Florence Christofori Memorial Endowment fund, a fund to provide financial assistance to city youths’ to attend Cathedral/ Pope Francis High School.
Laurie’s resume in the restaurant business is extensive; Mr. Magoo’s, Finnegan’s, the Monte Carlo, The Lynnfield Colonial Hilton, and The Van Horn Spa among others. Laurie is longtime area Chef and all around de facto Aunt to hundreds of Kids throughout the area. She donates time and effort to the JBO on a regular basis in helping with Banquets and events. Laurie donated her time cooking at the Hungry Hill reunions at Plastics Park and introduced Fried Dough to the starving participants of the Hungry Hill Block party. She regularly bakes Mutton Pies that are sold for fundraising efforts for the JBO, and she consistently contributes her time and effort catering events for many youth sports programs. And she has also been known to make tortellini.
Billy is married to his lovely wife, Doreen LaPointe, they have two boys Dante and Joey. Billy is a graduate of Cathedral High School and Western New England College graduate. He was elected to the Hampden County Charter Commission and was Chairman of the Springfield Park Commission 2000-2004. Billy is also President of the Hungry Hill Community Development Corporation from 1999- present, President of the Skip McCarthy/Fred Hamre Softball League 1986-2006. He is employed as an Assistant Superintendent at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and has coached youth sports; including hockey, Springfield Capitals and Springfield Jr. Pics; Baseball, Springfield Indians; Soccer, Our Lady of Hope. Billy is also a High School Baseball and Hockey coach for Cathedral. He was Ward 2 Democrat of the year 2006. Billy was an original member of the Police Memorial Monument Committee.
And as Brian O’Brien has observed, “if you were to straighten out his Bowlegs, Billy would stand 6 feet tall.”
Joe is a Graduate of Cathedral High School and Emerson College. He is employed as a freelance Cinematographer in the greater Boston area. He manages the HungryHillweb.com site dedicated to the preserving the History and Memory of the Hungry Hill neighborhood. Joe raises money for the Jimmy Fund Cancer research through Hungry Hill Shamrocks along with the Hoar Brothers, Jim Franz, among others. He has traveled to Ireland as a member of the O’Brien Brothers Pub Tours since 2006. Joe has also donated use of his antique cars to the John Boyle O’Reilly Club for the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the past 10 years and in that time has never lost a member in Holyoke.
Paul Caron Award
The Paul G. Caron Award is presented each year in memory of the founder of the Springfield Colleen Contest to a past or present Committee member, or someone who has contributed greatly to the Greater Springfield Community. This year’s recipient is Realtor, Dot Lortie. Dot’s Irish roots stem from County Kerry, Ireland, where her mother was born.
Dot has dedicated 50 years to the betterment of our communities dating back to 1965. Past involvement in the community includes Springfield Historic Commission, Mayor Sarno’s reorganization Team member, Co-Chair & Event Sponsor of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip Off Classic Peach Basket Festival for 22 years, and NCAA Division II Coaches Program Sponsor. Dot has also served as a Board member of the STYCC Advisory Commission, Holy Cross Parish School and the “X: Main Street Board. She has been a board member and supporter of the Forest Park Zoo and Worthington House Shelter. She has also been a supporter of Symphony Hall, Springfield Firefighters Assoc., NCCJ Fundraising ala, Big Brothers & Sisters and American Cancer Society. Dot has received several prestigious awards during her years of service, including Hometown Hero Award and Girl Scout of America Award and is currently Vice Chair of the City of Springfield Redevelopment Authority and a past president of the Exchange Club (Child Abuse Prevention Org.) as well as a corporator of Springfield Quad & Museums Association. She is also a Co-Chair of St. Michael’s Chapel First Friday Breakfast for 30 years.
Dot has been a well-known area realtor since 1965. May 17th was designated Dot Lortie day in Springfield by former Mayor Michael Albano.
Dot resides in Springfield with her husband Leo. They are the parents of two sons and four grandchildren, five great grandsons and one great grand-daughter who takes Irish Step Dancing in the Boston area.