The County Roscommon Society of New York held their 79th Annual St. Patrick’s Celebration Dinner Dance on Sunday March 2, 2008 at Riccardo’s, Astoria. Mayor of Roscommon John Kelly, County Manager John Tiernan, his lovely wife Mary Tiernan, Alan Farrelly of the New York Consul General’s office, John Dunleavy, Chairman of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Michael Fogarty, President of the United Irish Counties of New York were all present at the well-attended celebration. Elizabeth Hanrahan, who will represent the Roscommon Society of New York at the International Queen of Roscommon Festival, was also in attendance. A special recognition award was presented to Past President Thomas P. Giblin from the Roscommon County Council, represented by Mayor John Kelly and Roscommon Manager John Tiernan. They commended Mr. Giblin for his outstanding leadership of the Society for the past three years. Current President, Michael Lyons (Ballinlough) and Treasurer, Aflie Sharkey (Tibohine) recognised Mr. Giblin with a Past President Sash and a Dinner Certificate for the new Abbeyfields hotel in Ballaghaderreen in grateful appreciation of leadership and dedication to the Society. President Michael Lyons thanked co-chairmen Stephen Groarke (Cloonfad) and Jimmy Cryan (whose father hails from Baslick, Castlerea) who served as Chairs for the Event, and Alfie Sharkey for his help with the Journal preparation. Mr. Lyons recognised past president, Mr. Thomas Gilbin for his successful efforts on behalf of the Society. The 2008 Guests of Honour were Maura Flynn Hession and Michael R. Dowd. They were both recognised for their many achievements at this event. Maura B. Flynn Hession was born to parents Johnny and Nancy Flynn in Loughill, Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon. She is one of six children, siblings are Michael, Sean, Timmy, Rita and Kiernan. Maura attended Carrick National School (Ballinlough), Convent of Mercy (Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo), Community School (Ballyhaunis) and the College of Insurance (New York City). Maura came to America in 1989 and started off in Chicago working for her cousin Michael Winston in his Irish Store (Winstons). One year later, she moved to New Jersey. She worked for the Interstate Insurance Company for 3 years, attending College of Insurance at night. She obtained her New York brokers license. She left Interstate in 1993 and began employment with America E&S Insurance Company where she went on to become an underwriter. Maura left the corporate world in 1993 when she and her husband Sean opened Willie McBrides Pub and Restaurant in Hoboken, NJ. Seven years later, they opened their second establishment, Buskers Bar and Restaurant, also in Hoboken. Maura is a member of the Hoboken Parade Committee and a proud member of the Roscommon Association. She is also an active member of the PTA in Long Valley, NJ, and is involved in fundraising for the school. Maura works very closely with the homeless shelter in Hoboken and is involved with raising awareness of this huge and often forgotten part of society. She is also involved with the St. Jude’s Children Cancer Centers of America. Maura married Sean Hession in Ireland in 1994 and they are parents of a 6-year-old daughter, Chloe. Sean is a native of Brickens, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. Michael R. Dowd is a resident of West Orange, New Jersey. He is the son of Catherine Bradley, a native of Cloonacool, Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo and Thomas R. Dowd, a native of Castlerea, Co. Roscommon. Born in Montclair, NJ, Michael is the oldest of five children and was raised in Orange and West Orange, NJ. He is a graduate of the Jersey Prep School (Newark NJ) and attended Kean College (Union, NJ). He also attended the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, MD. Michael is an active member of the Giblin Association, Cryan Association, The St. Patrick’s Guard of Honor and a supporter of the West Orange and Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parades. He is a frequent visitor to Ireland. At present, Michael is a career Deputy Fire Chief with the Orange Fire Department. He is the Vice President of the New Jersey Deputy Fire Chief’s Association and is closely involved with several other Fire Associations. Michael was recognized as Irishmen of the year by the City of Orange in 2002. Michael was the honoree of the 1995 Gold Valor Award of the New Jersey Firefighters Union (FMBA) and St. Barnabas Medical Center. Also in 1995, he was recognised by the United States Congress for his leadership and valor. Michael is a staunch supporter of many civic and charitable organisations, most notably, The Smile Train for Children, St. Joseph Indian School and The Girls and Boys Town of Omaha, Nebraska. In closing, Mr. Lyons expressed his appreciation to the Mayor, Council and especially, the people still in County Roscommon for their interest and support. Roscommon Society members always receive a warm welcome each time they travel home for a visit. Roscommon exiles and friends in the New York metropolitan area are invited to join the County Roscommon Society. For further information, contact Mike Lyons at 201-447-2425.