Irish Legends

Sacred Heart Children's center was chosen by Norte Dame High School and St. Mary's Grade School to be honored as an Irish Legend. The Irish Legends Gala Norte Dame and St. Mary's version of a hall of fame. Irish Legends are chosen based on significant contribution to the schools and/or community and/or outstanding achievement. Scared Heart was awarded at the Irish Legends Gala on April 8, 2017 in Bridgeport, WV.    

2017 Irish Legends

Irish Legends Plaque

Irish Legends Plaque


Selection Letter

Irish Legends Selection Letter


Irish Legends Gala - President's Speech

Thank you, Ian. Thank you, patrons. Thank you, Notre Dame/St. Mary’s for this distinguished and unique honor. I also would like to thank the Board of Sacred Heart attendees:

  • Jane Simmerman and Frank, her husband
  • Delores Yoke and Bill, her husband
  • Meredith McCarthy
  • Carolyn Burnside

and also, my wife, Becky, who I love dearly and puts up with me continually, throwing ideas in her face and keeping from getting into trouble by being diplomatic; and many more things.

The Board knows all too well how I begin our meetings so here it is today’s message (quote) or bit of history;

(Quote from Pope Francis) A population that does not take care of the elderly and of children and the young has no future, because it abuses both its memory and its promise.

Today (April 8th) is the day that the first Archdiocese in the US was granted by the Holy See. In 1808, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was formed that included many metropolitan areas. Of course, borne out of Baltimore was the Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston.

Can you imagine back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, if one more ”I” country was banned from travel here, we wouldn’t be having this grand affair.

I was born in a small town, North of the border in Pennsylvania, known as Mount Pleasant. My neighborhood called it “Dutchtown”, because that’s where all the Italians and Irish lived. Of course, that’s where Italian and Irish churches were. You could get on your bicycle at the Italian Church and by the time you hit your first full turn of the pedals you’d be braking at the Irish Church.

I would sit at the dinner table and listen to my Papa complain to my Slavish mother about the Irish Church. Of course, he’d say the Italians were always better at everything, baseball, golf, praying, in fact maybe they might just have been better at Bocce, because the Irish didn’t play it. My best friend, Phil, just up the street from me went to the Irish Church. I’d have dinner at his house and, of course, his dad complained about the Italians.

So, the Italians had their church and school. The school was small and taught Latin. Same for the Irish, except, well, they tried to taught English.

The day came when the diocese ordered the combination of the schools, and then the churches. You thought damnation came to our neighborhood. Every family threatened to leave the parishes. They were going to go to the Slavish and Polish Churches.

Being 8 or 9 at the time, my best friend and I could only think of one thing. That we are going to have the best basketball team in the country. Nobody could touch us. So how proud were we to wear those uniforms of SB-SJ and kick the living crap out of the other teams. Of course, there in the bleachers were the parents next to each other cheering us on.

From that point on it didn’t seem to matter that we were one church. We lived together and through the whole mess, we all prayed to the same God.

Point is, it was the children who innocently brought the people together. Children, who aren’t as jaded and educated, to have the forethought how something so insignificant could bring a community together. Hell, the Italians still give the Irish crap and Irish give the Italians caca, but it’s all in jest.

This is a community of giving. My recent conversation with another foundation brought to light how giving of a county we are. Maybe for just living here so long, I don’t know an area of our size how charitable we are. How lucky are we that the originators and donors of this foundation gave us a start to provide charity to, hopefully, where it’s needed?

Sacred Heart, although sounds like a Catholic foundation, is anything but. What the foundation is about is the children. The children who make the difference. . . who brought the church community together. Today there are many children in need and more every day. Do you know how many grandparents are raising their grandchildren?

I see many people here who were once Board members. You know what it’s about. We would like you back. We are an organization of diverse people, who have lively discussion and help tend to the greater need of this county. If you have an organization that needs help or you want to be part of it, volunteer. It’s for the children!

I’m just current caretaker for this organization; so, thank you for letting me be here for this great honor. Thanks for listening and God bless.