SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – South Plainfield will host its 59th annual Labor Day Parade on Monday, Sept. 5 and the Public Celebrations Committee announced last week that Georgeann Cochrane and Dominic Demico, Sr., will serve as co-Honorary Grand Marshal for 2016.
Cochrane, who was nominated by her daughter Georgeann Larsen, and Demico, who was nominated by his daughter Rosanne Demico-Ilardo, are both lifelong residents with strong community ties and decades of service to South Plainfield.
“I think it is a great idea that there are co-grand marshals for this year’s parade,” added Councilman Joe Wolak, who also served as the committee’s liaison. “I am very happy that they were both selected.”
In selecting an honorary grand marshal for the parade each year, the borough’s Public Celebrations Committee accepts nominations, reviews submissions, collaborates, and votes. “There are so many people to honor and pay tribute to in South Plainfield who spend their lives giving back to the community, not because they have but because they love it. This is a very tough decision because so many [nominees] met the criteria,” said Committee President Debbie Boyle.
“This year, the committee chose to honor Dominic Demico, Sr. and Georgeann Cochrane,” Boyle continued. “They are both lifelong residents who give back by volunteering in numerous organizations and to the youth of South Plainfield.”
A lifelong resident of South Plainfield, Georgeann Cochrane has been an active volunteer with various community-based organizations over the years. When her children were growing up, she served as president and vice president of Pop Warner, vice president of the South Plainfield Cheerleaders Parent Association, and as a volunteer member of both the Project Graduation Committee and the South Plainfield Athletic Booster Club. Additionally, she has served on the South Plainfield Recreation Commission for the past 28 years and, in 2000, was inducted into the South Plainfield Hall of Fame.
Owner of Mohn’s Flowers and Fancy Foods on Plainfield Avenue since 1990, Cochrane has, over the years, donated flowers and corsages for various school events, including athletic team dinners and Riley School’s annual fourth grade graduation and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Cochrane also works with the schools and provides floral arranging classes with special needs students.
For 20 years, she has run the Rose Patrol throughout the district’s elementary schools. Established in memory of her own late mother, Cochrane presents three moms from each elementary schools with a dozen roses right before Mother’s Day based on winning essays submitted by the children.
“My mom grew up in South Plainfield and has been involved since the time my brother and I were in elementary school and continued long after we graduated,” said Cochrane’s daughter Georgeann Larsen. “She loves to see the youth in this town excel and is always going above and beyond to help out in any way.”
Cochrane’s latest volunteer effort includes the ‘Sea of Blue Ribbon’ campaign in support of local law enforcement. In the past three weeks, she has made over 900 blue bows and raised close to $1,900 for the South Plainfield Police Department. She plans to adorn all the poles on South Plainfield’s major roads in time for the Labor Day Parade.
“My mother has instilled in both me and my brother that you should give back to the town you grew up in. She takes pride in giving back and does it with pure joy. For her, it’s not a burden,” said Larsen, adding, “South Plainfield is near and dear to her heart because it is her roots. She just goes above and beyond and is always the first one to say ‘let me help.’”
Cochrane said being selected grand marshal is ‘very humbling.’ “When I got the call, I was kind of in shock and after a few minutes I started to cry. It’s wonderful and I am very appreciative but to me, there are so many other people in this town who are deserving,” Cochrane said, adding that she couldn't be happier to share the role with Demico. “I love Dominic and to be chosen along with him is an honor.”
Cochrane and her husband Bill have been married 20 years. She is mom to Georgeann and Jaime Larsen and Nicholas DiGrazia and an extended family that includes Brian and Laurian Cochrane, Michelle and Dale Morin, and Chris and Eileen Cochrane. Additionally, she has five granddaughters, McKenzie, Skylar, Emma, Harlee, and Abigail.
Dominic Demico, Sr.
Born and raised in South Plainfield, Dominic Demico, Sr., 83, is a second generation resident of the borough. Following four years of active duty in the United States Navy, Demico went on to become a barber in town before running his own shop in Manville for 10 years. Demico later become a plumber, establishing Holly Park Plumbing. After 25 years year, he went on to serve as a plumbing inspector for Woodbridge Township. Currently, Demico works as an inspector and a teacher at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School.
Demico, and his late wife Anna Butrico were married 60 years and raised two children, Rosanne Demico-Ilardo and Dominic Demico, Jr. He was a member of the American Federation of Musicians and spent many years as a drummer, playing weddings and parties with the band The Tirades.
During the 1970s, Demico was a member of the Jaycees; served as secretary of the South Plainfield Junior Baseball, working with his brothers to build the club house and snack stand at the ball field; was president of South Plainfield Pop Warner Football; and was president of the South Plainfield High School Booster Club, instrumental in raising money to purchase the organization’s first pitching machine.
A lifelong parishioner of Sacred Heart Church, Demico volunteered a great deal of time assisting with the annual Funstival. He is also a member of the Italian American Club as well as a lifetime member of both the South Plainfield VFW and South Plainfield American Legion. Additionally, he has been actively involved with the Piscataway Rotary Club for 35 years.
“He is a generous man who has integrity and respect for South Plainfield and this country. He is always helping someone and setting a good example of how people should treat others,” stated Demico-Ilardo in her letter of nomination, adding, “My dad had the support and dedication of my mom and, together, they took pride in this town, its children and supported many, many organizations. I am very proud of both of them as I am sure my brother is, too.”
“I am a very busy guy,” said Demico. “It’s nice belonging and serving these organizations. It’s all about helping people. That is the key.”
Although he typically takes part in the annual parade, representing the American Legion, VFW or Italian American Club, Demico said being chosen as a grand marshal is an honor. “It came as a surprise and anything like that is good surprise,” he said, adding, “I am going to start practicing my wave.”
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