UNION, NJ – Michael McNany has always been proud of his Irish heritage and the values of family, community, service and generosity that come with it. On March 14, the 24th Annual Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off onto the streets of Union with McNany as Grand Marshal.
"It's quite an honor to have been selected as the Grand Marshal of the 2020 Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade,” said McNany. “Growing up, attending school and having a rewarding career in my hometown of Springfield makes this that much more special. Being able to be a part of the best parade in the state is a memory that I will cherish forever."
“On the behalf of the parade, I would like to congratulate Michael on being the 2020 Union County St Patrick's Day Grand Marshal,” said parade General Chairwoman Jessica Cunningham. “Michael is an amazing person. He has dedicated his life to helping people, from his career as a police officer to starting (along with his family) a foundation that helps his community. We thank you, Mike, for everything you have done for your community as well as your Irish heritage.”
McNany, 53, was the youngest of five, born in Mt. Lebanon, PA. As a child, his family, including his three brothers, Paul, Ed and Brian, and sister, Rita, moved to Springfield. McNany attended St. James Roman Catholic School, and graduated from Jonathan Dayton Regional High School in 1984. In August 1988, McNany was appointed to the Springfield Police Department as a patrolman. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2008 and to lieutenant in 2012. McNany retired in 2014. Throughout his 26 year career, he received numerous recognitions and commendations from the department and P.B.A. Local 76. He is currently employed by Canoe Brook Country Club as a security supervisor. McNany has a daughter, Amy.
Being raised in an Irish family, with roots in Co. Cork and Co. Monaghan, McNany said many holidays and occasions were spent with aunts, uncles, cousins, with “music, laughter and sharing of stories and traditions”.
McNany joined the Essex County Emerald Society, an organization that promotes and supports the culture and traditions of professional police officers and firefighters of Irish descent, in 1989. He proudly served as a member of the color guard for several years. He was elected Second Vice President - Law Enforcement in 2013 and currently serves in this position.
Looking to be more involved within the organization, McNany joined the Essex County Emerald Society Pipe Band in 1997. Since then he has enjoyed playing both the snare and bass in the drum line for many parades throughout the state and in Ireland. McNany was elected to the position of alternate Drum Major. He said he has proudly marched in the Union County St. Patrick's Day parade for over 20 years.
McNany has been very involved in the organizing of band events, meetings, outings, scheduling and setting up numerous fundraisers for both local charities and organizations on behalf of the pipe band and the society. Last year, McNany was selected the 2019 "Emerald of the Year" by his peers in the Essex Co. Emerald Society.
McNany is a member of the Msgr. Francis X. Coyle Council #5560 as a Third Degree Knight, the Summit BPOE #1246, the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, West Orange and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Union County, where he received their 2019 Distinguished Service Award for Law Enforcement.
McNany said the desire to give back and help those he meets comes from lessons taught by his hard-working and loving mother, Ann Marie, as well as the actions of his great-grandparents. McNany said his great-grandmother, Mary Jane Denton of Cotts, Co. Wexford, married Richard J. Murphy of Summit, and during the early part of the 1900's, they owned and managed the Beechwood Hotel in Summit. While there they sponsored many immigrants as they came from Ireland, assisting them in getting settled by employing them as they began their new life in America.
In 2015, Mike, his brother, Ed, and sister Rita, launched The McNany Charitable Foundation, Inc. Mike serves as the organization's Vice President. Described as a small but passionate organization, they have been able to establish several scholarships for deserving graduating high school seniors and sponsor one of the Emerald Society Scholarships given out annually. Says McNany, “this, along with donating to local first responders for much needed equipment and supplies, is our way of continually giving back." The organization has also helped those in the community who have met tragedy due to unforeseen circumstances, while donating to other worthy causes throughout the state.
The 2020 Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off in Union at 1:00 p.m. The Parade begins with the marching units gathered on Morris Avenue, along Commerce and Jeanette Avenues. The parade route proceeds east along Morris Avenue to the turn at the Main Reviewing Stand at Stuyvesant Ave. and ends at Roosevelt Avenue.
The Midway Reviewing Stand at Morris and Caldwell Avenues has parade announcers with details of all the participants, history and other information.
The day begins at 9:00 with the Thornstick Mass, hosted in conjunction with the Elizabeth A.O.H., at St. Patrick's Church in Elizabeth. At 12:00, Reviewing Stand festivities at Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues begin.