The luck of the Irish is in the air as we approach St. Patrick's Day.
This week Western Mass News and PeoplesBank are focusing on a volunteer who has helped make the holiday extra special in the Pioneer Valley for 40 years.
Joe Griffin is nothing short of an Irish staple in Holyoke.
"The bottom line was I wanted to get involved with the parade because then you're involved with the community you're doing a lot of good things for a lot of people," said Griffin.
After 40 years Joe has a lot to show for his hard work.
He was apart of the road race for 25 years, and president of the committee in 1993, as well as a recipient of the O'Connell award and recently given the Thomas Rohan Award.
Behind those acknowledgments comes a life time of memories for Joe.
"I was near the end with the police car and the ambulance. I was 55. You do the same at 55 and we'll see how you do," Griffin noted.
A great sense of humor and his hard work and dedication make him a volunteer to live up to around the parade committee.
"Joe exemplifies it all. He not only comes year after year, scholarship activities but the joyfulness in which it's done. l not only the spirit and energy it's fun. We are a growing and engaged committee just for the reason," said Mike Moriarty of the parade committee.
The committee is filled with outstanding volunteers like Joe, but it's growing in young people as well.
This year the committee is recognizing another outstanding young volunteer, Heather McMahon, who recently lost her battle to cancer.
"A tremendous volunteer died at 30 from cancer, one of the organizations she recognized was Holyoke that was her memories, she loved the Holyoke parade committee and we loved her right back," said Moriarty.
From the young volunteers like Heather, to the veterans like Joe, all can connect through their love of their Irish heritage.
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