The grand marshal will be Joseph Roughan, a Limerick native who helped found the parade in 1997. A former hurler, soccer player and rugby star, Roughan, who is married and has five children and 10 grandchildren, is owner of Rockville Interiors. He is active in St. Agnes Church and School as well as Mercy Medical Center.
With the motto “The Parade that Shares and Cares,” organizers are keen to show that the event is indeed a charitable one.
According to the parade organizers, it is the Irish values of generosity and charitable giving that are celebrated by the event.
Each year the organizing committee selects three charities and donates the proceedings gathered by the event equally to them.
A committee member in charge of fund raising is Tom McNicholas, who said that he was surprised to learn that the Rockville Centre parade’s charitable giving was relatively rare.
“I was surprised, yes,” said McNicholas. “It is one very few parades in the country that raises money for charity. ‘The parade that cares and shares’ has always been our motto.
“We’ve always had a focus on having a great day, but also not forgetting to share with those less fortunate than ourselves.”
Three charities have been chosen as usual this year. They are the Literacy Volunteers of Nassau County, the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association, and the Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Parade Scholarship Fund.
The last recipient is a fund for four scholarships for students of any ethnic background who submit winning essays on an aspect of Irish history or culture.
“It’s amazing how it has blossomed,” said McNicholas, who said that in the last six years $188,000 has been donated to 18 local charities.
“When I first got involved,” he added, “I was very surprised that more parades do not do this. People are so very willing to give.”
Rockville Centre’s St Patrick’s Parade starts with a 9 a.m. Mass in St. Agnes Cathedral on Quealy Place. The parade steps off at noon at Long Beach Road and continues to Maple Avenue and then to Quealy Place.