Category: Archive

A medal for Pauline

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Many at home though I was a wee bit crazy wanting to teach Irish Gaelic in America and were constantly questioning my decision. “Who would want to learn Irish in New York?” I was asked. But I then met with Pauline Turley from the Irish Arts Center, and she changed my life. Agreeing with me that there was a demand for the Irish language, Pauline Turley and the Irish Arts Center decided to sponsor my first visa.
I knew as soon as I met Pauline in the Irish Arts Center in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan that she was one in a million, and she proves this each and every day. She works so hard, and the center has gone from strength to strength with her strong driving force behind it. She has even tried to brush up on her Irish by popping into my conversation class at the IAC, and helps me with my children’s class whenever help is needed.
Pauline works hard for the sake of Irish culture in New York and we’d be lost without her. I know her parents miss her terribly and would love her to be at home, as she’s been in America for twelve years. But the gap that would be left behind would be enormous and they realize how hard she works and how valuable she is to the Irish community in New York.
The Turleys are very proud of their daughter, and Mrs. Turley was in New York last week, to watch her receive a special award. Pauline has received many honors over the past few years, but this one stood out among them all: she received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her hard work and dedication to the Irish culture. All of us who know Pauline are aware of how hard-working and down-to-earth she is, and I’m delighted that her work is once again being recognized. It was especially gratifying to see her honored by an amazing organization such as NECO — The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. She deserves it.
Pauline invited me along to this event, and I must admit that it was one the best events I had ever attended and — you all know that I attend a lot of events throughout the year! It took place on Ellis Island, with an amazing ceremony followed by a fabulous dinner. It was truly magical. On our way back to Manhattan (by boat, obviously) there was a beautiful fireworks display for us, with accompanying music such as “New York, New York,” and “God Bless America.” I must admit, I shed a tear as I realized that Pauline had dedicated her adult life to the promotion and development of Irish heritage and culture in New York and we owe her, and all the staff at the Irish Arts Center, a debt of gratitude for all their hard work and effort.
Pauline is as dedicated as ever and is currently working on raising support to build a new facility so the Irish Arts Center can continue to thrive. She earned this medal — everyone in New York’s Irish community knows her, and knows how hard she works. I was delighted that she got the recognition she deserves and was delighted to be present to see her accept her medal of honor.

Bhuaileas l

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