2020 Hamilton St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshall Gerard (Jerry) Sheridan and Miss St. Patrick Nicole Brown. Photo and Graphic by Michael A. Sabo
In November of 1985, a small group of people banded together to organize a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Trenton had not had a parade in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland for more than 100 years. Desmond Murphy, who was born in Dublin, and the former owner of the 149 Club on Washington Street, originated the idea.
Today, the tradition continues right here in Hamilton every Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.
Initially, the group consisted of four local Irish-American tavern owners. However, it expanded to include those with the expertise to organize the event. The problem was, despite all that expertise, none of them had served on a Parade Committee before or had taken on such a monumental task. Undaunted, they decided to invoke “Murphy’s Law”, the one that says if something can go wrong, it will.
The committee members then decided that Murphy’s Law was too optimistic, so they adopted their own law – “Even the impossible will happen so be prepared to handle any crisis.” As a result of that realistic philosophy, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade @ Hamilton has earned the reputation for being a finely orchestrated, precision production.
The Parade Committee is disbanded after every parade and reorganized in April by the Board of Trustees. At that time, the Chairperson and the Parade Coordinator are elected, a budget is prepared and sub-committees are organized, each of which has its own set of responsibilities. The sub-committees report their progress to the Chairperson and the Board of Trustees at monthly meetings.
The Parade budget, including scholarships, is well in excess of $50,000. Funds are raised in part by the active participation of committee members at various functions throughout the year, including festivals, bus trips, and its souvenir journal. The committee also raises money through its annual fund-raiser, private contributions, and band sponsorship.
2020 Grand Marshall – Gerard (Jerry) Sheridan
Being selected Grand Marshall is both an honor and a privilage. I do take a lot of pride in my Irish heritage, participating in many Irish activities over decades.
Gerard (Jerry) Sheridan was born in 1946 to Richard and Frances Sheridan in the great coal mining area of Pennsylvania in Scranton. The family moved to Hamilton in 1951. Jerry was in the first graduating class of Our Lady of Sorrows. He then attended Steinert High School graduating in 1964.
Jerry continued his education by attending Trenton Technical Institute, Mercer County College finally getting his degree from Trenton State College now College of New Jersey, in business Administration with an emphasis on accounting.
He started his professional career first at Princeton University then onto Hydrocarbon Research, USPS, State of New Jersey Division of State Police and finally a 37-year career at McGraw-Hill Companies. Holding numerous positions at McGraw –Hill including but not limited to Accounting Cost, Global Procurement, business unit magazines overseeing several of their important publications, Business weekly and Aviation weekly. He capped his career being promoted to Director of Finance Standard &Poor’s Equity Division.
Proud of his Irish heritage Jerry has been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Msg.Crean Division #1 for 30 years. As a member of the board of trustees and as treasurer. He has been honored as “Hibernian of the year” and help co-founded the Hibernian Quoit League. Jerry continues to raise funds to finance the kid’s Christmas Party and Easter egg hunt. He has also been a member of the St. Patrick’s Parade and Scholarship Committee@Hamilton for over 20years. He served as Parade Chairman and is still an active member of the Committee.
Jerry is a house member of VFW Posts491and 3525and a member of St.Gregory the Great Parish. Married to Sandra they have three sons Michael, Dr.Patrick and James and eight grandchildren Gabrielle, Casey, Kayla, Cooper Kathryn, James Alexis, and Sophia.
2020 Miss Saint Patrick – Nicole Brown
The St.Patrick Parade and Scholarship Committee @Hamilton have selected a Steinert High School senior Nicole Brown as their $2000 Scholarship Miss St. Patrick winner.
She will help lead the” long green line’’ on March 14 along Nottingham Way in Hamilton as the Parade Committee presents the 35th annual St.Patrick’s Day parade.
At Steinert, she has been on the honor roll and has received academic awards throughout her high school years. Nicole serves as a peer leader helping freshman transition into high school. Sports wise she plays tennis for the school and keeps score for the school’s ice hockey team.
She is involved in community service groups both inside and outside of school. Through her involvement, she creates opportunities to teach and show the importance of giving back to the community. As a student of the arts, she likes writing and singing and plays guitar and piano. That interest in the arts led her to Irish dance starting with the DeNogla School and then onto the prestigious Kotelnicki School of Irish Dance. She has connected to her heritage through the long-lived traditional dance. She has been in her school’s musical choir for 4 years Nicole has performed, particularly during the holiday season, at hospitals and nursing homes.
In her essay, as part of the scholarship application, she speaks of growing up and being attracted to various Irish singing groups. That interest showed early in kindergarten when she took her collection of Irish CDs to show and tell.
“Being Irish has made me the luckiest girl ever”
Her proud parents are Gregory and Mary Anne Brown. Nicole also has two sisters Christa and Sarah.