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Irish American Club East Side (IACES) Celebrates 39 Years of Existence

After we left the IRTF gathering, we headed over to the Irish American Club East Side (IACES) in Euclid which was having a party to celebrate its 39th year of existence.

We loved dancing to music played by a band called "Mary Jane" which played such old favorites as "500 Miles", "The Boys in the Old Brigade", and "It's a Long Way to Tipperary."

We shared a table with Ms. Sheila Manfredi whose father, Mr. Phil Walsh was a past president of the IACES and played an important role in its founding because this location used to be a furniture store and Mr. Walsh was responsible for a lot of the transforming construction work.

Other people that we knew who were there were Ms. Sheila Crawford and Ms. Mary Campbell-Stack whose families have also been involved with the IACES for many, many years.

Shortly after 9pm, Ms. Mary Alice Curran, who worked very hard as a member of the anniversary committee to make this occasion a success, introduced our friend Mr. Gerry Quinn; IACES's first president, WHK radio host, Cleveland International Hall of Fame inductee, once a Grand Marshall at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and consistent activist in the Irish community; who coordinated the brief program.

Mr. Quinn talked for a few minutes about the history of the IACES and its prospects for the future. He recalled how the club had been formed nearly 40 years ago by 17 individuals on Super Bowl Sunday in 1978 and how its popularity started a trend that involved people investigating their backgrounds to see if they had roots in Ireland.

Of course he was dismayed by the decline in me membership over the years so he urged that those who were technologically savvy to apply their talents towards attracting younger generations to the IACES and raising money. Nevertheless, Mr. Quinn held firm that the club not betray its mission which is to be a family-oriented organization that services the Irish-American community because "ethnic pride is a virtue that should be passed on."

He concluded his remarks by saying that everyone there was joined together by their Irish heritage and their love of the United States (the adopted country of either our ancestors or ourselves) which Mr. Quinn termed "the last great hope of mankind." He went on to say that he, himself, came here as an immigrant and was grateful for the opportunities the United States gave him and loved the rich cultural diversity of Cleveland.

The next phase of the program consisted of Mr. Quinn introducing all 15 people who served as the IACES president over the years starting (amusingly) with himself because he was the first president. For those had passed or were unable to be there, he acknowledged their families and their accomplishments. We especially liked the tribute that he paid to Ms. Debbie Hanson when he said that clevelandpeople.com was "the best nationality website in this part of the country."

The last president to be introduced was the current one, Mr. Kevin McCluskey who Mr. Quinn said was "a friend to everyone there."

Mr. McCluskey acknowledged the IACES Board and the hard work of the people who volunteered to help with the festivities. We know for a fact the Mr. McCluskey has been involved with the IACES since childhood and that he considered this club to be like his home.

He wrapped up the program by proposing a toast by reciting an Irish proverb which read:

 

                                                     "There are good ships,

                                                 And there are wood ships,

                                               There are ships that sail the sea.

                                              But the best ships are friendships,

                                                  And may they always be."

By:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

 

Kwasi Bediako