By Karen Zautyk
There are still several months to go before the world turns green, but the Nutley Irish American Alliance has announced its honorees for the 36th annual Nutley St. Patrick’s Parade, to be held March 1, 2014.
At the organization’s meeting last Thursday night, President Tom McEnery introduced the dignitaries, noting that “every year, it’s a very hard decision.” That’s because so many worthy names are always put forth. But after much deliberation, the group’s trustees have made their choices.
The Grand Marshal is Brendan Gill, Essex County freeholder. Gill, elected to his first term in 2011, represents District V, which covers Nutley, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge and Montclair.
Since 2007, Democrat Gill was a top adviser to Sen. Frank Lautenberg and served as his State Director until the senator’s death this past June.
A lifelong resident of Essex County, Gill lives in Montclair. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Seton Hall University with a B.A. degree in political science and went on to serve as District Director for U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman and chief of staff for Assemblyman Peter Eagler.
Gill is also active in the Irish- American community and is a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Accepting his appointment as Nutley Parade Grand Marshal, Gill told the NIAA membership that for many years, he came to town to watch the parade.
“I know this parade has a proud history,” he said, “and I am beyond honored to become part of that history. I’m humbled. I don’t even know if I’m worthy.”
The 2014 Deputy Grand Marshal is Carl Thunell, building inspector for the Town of Nutley, who also noted that he was “honored and humbled.” “This is a great honor,” he said, “especially after growing up in Nutley and going to the parade every year.”
Selected as NIAA Member of the Year was Mike Frobose, who noted that his family has been in Nutley for six generations.
“I’m so honored, I’m speechless,” said Frobose.
“I’m used to being behind the scenes,” he noted, adding, “I’m just trying to give back to the town.”
In Nutley, there is also a Parade Queen, and this year’s reigning monarch is Alyson Rose Ridings, a nurse who works at both Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville and Hackensack UMC at Pascack Valley, Westwood.
Ridings, who has lived in Nutley since she was 18 months old, commented that she was “very excited and a little nervous” about being chosen, but is proud to “represent my family’s Nutley Irish history.”
As March approaches, Observer readers will learn more about the NIAA-sponsored parade and the events surrounding it.
And to all the honorees: Slainte!