Al DeBenedictis has been selected by the Parade Trustees to be the 2015 Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Morris County, Inc. Al has a long history of promoting and supporting the spread of Irish culture in and around Morris County.
When he was nominated, he almost turned it down. He felt there were others who deserved it more. The trustees told him he was their unanimous choice. After sleeping on it, he accepted the role. He said, “Over the past 24 years I have met, known and worked with all the Past Grand Marshals; I never expected that I would ever be honored to be one of them.”
Al has been very involved in fostering Irish culture in Morris and Ocean County NJ over the years. He is an active member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Morris County since 1986. And for the past 24 years he has been a key player in putting on and promoting the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Morris County. He has served as Finance Chair and Co-Chaired the parade Journal’s fundraising efforts. Al was a Trustee of the parade organization; and has been, and still is, an active member of the Parade and Finance committees that make our parade the success that it is. Over the years the parade has donated almost $300,000 to local charities. The parade committees are proud of their track record; “no public funds are used to put on the parade”. The Parade is fully funded by corporate, local business and individual sponsors.
He has been an Area Coordinator for Project Children since 1985. Project Children has brought over 20,000 young Irish children from the troubled areas of Northern Ireland to the United States for a summer respite away from the tensions in the North. In 1996 the program added an Intern Program for university students to expand their studies with work experiences related to their majors. He has been the lead coordinator for the Intern Program since its inception and has made frequent trips to Northern Ireland to interview, select and conduct orientation sessions with student applicants. He spearheaded getting the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick involved with fund-raising for the Project Children program and all it good work.