• News

A bittersweet New York parade for Dermot Sexton

Thursday, 16th March, 2017 7:11pm
Jump to comments
A bittersweet New York parade for Dermot Sexton

Dermot and his late wife Kathleen.

A bittersweet New York parade for Dermot Sexton

Dermot and his late wife Kathleen.

DERMOT Sexton will mark his 50th year as a volunteer for the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade by blowing the ceremonial silver whistle which officially starts the 256th Parade.

It will be a bittersweet honor for Sexton, a native of Nurney, in County Kildare.

His beloved wife of 55 years, Kathleen Garvin Sexton, who was a native of Carratigue in Erris, won’t be by his side to share the honor. She died on January 17, 2017, after living with cancer for 32 years.

“I hope I can pull it off,” he said. “I’m praying to Kathleen to help me.”

At 11 a.m. sharp, when Sexton blows the whistle, the “Fighting 69th,” the 69th Infantry Regiment, will step off from 44th Street and Fifth Avenue, first in the line of march, its traditional place of honor at every New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 1853. More than 100,000 marchers are expected to follow the 69th Regiment up Fifth Avenue.

This year’s Grand Marshal is Michael J. Dowling, a native of County Limerick, and President & CEO of Northwell Health. This year’s Parade honors Catholic Charities and the New York State Troopers, which are both celebrating their 100th anniversary of helping New Yorkers in need.

Mr. Sexton, who came to New York on a lark as a 20-year-old in 1957, still speaks with a beguiling Irish brogue.

He had planned to return to Ireland, but instead, he married Kathleen Garvin, from Carratigue, County Mayo. In 1967, his brother-in-law, Frank McGreal Sr., brought him to work in the Parade.

“I was running around like a crazy man, it was years before they even knew my name,” he recalled, “but when you work hard, they don’t let you go.”

In 1992, Sexton, who lives in Hawthorne, N.Y., was given one of the Parade’s most challenging jobs, running the East Side Formation area of the Parade. As Chairman of East Side Formation, Sexton supervises a team of a dozen workers, who are responsible for moving thousands of marchers and hundreds of bands across Madison Avenue, through traffic and onto Fifth Avenue, while trying to keep to a timetable that changes each year.

 

Keep up-to-date with the latest news from around the county with a Connaught Telegraph epaper subscription from €2*

Group Publications

Your Forum
    Cookies on Connaught Telegraph website
    We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Connaught Telegraph website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
    How does Connaught Telegraph use cookies?
    Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
    We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
    Hide Message