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St. Louis-The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) will honor six distinguished St. Louisians at a special reception and award ceremony Thursday, March 12 at 6:00 PM at the Goff-Moll American Legion Post 101, located at 2721 Collier in Brentwood. The Hibernian celebration is dedicated to firefighters, law enforcement officers, public safety personnel and union members killed in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. The benefit is being held in conjunction with his year’s 2008 AOH Saint Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 in Dogtown (Baile Madra in Irish).

Among those honored will be the Grand Marshal of the 26th Ancient Order of Hibernians Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Fr Jim Byrnes, and director of the St. Louis Archdiocese Catholic Deaf Ministry, which ministers to the deaf and hard of hearing of the St. Louis community. Fr. Byrnes also has been heavily involved in the Life Teen Program, developing the St. Louis program into one of the largest in Missouri.

Fr. Byrnes currently serves as chaplain of the Father Tim Dempsey AOH Division 1 and as the State AOH Chaplain of Missouri.

Also receiving special honors will be firefighters and law enforcement officers from St.
Louis City and St. Louis County. The honorees include Lt. James Whyte of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis County Patrolman Jacob Maechling, St. Louis City Firefighter Leo Kuehner, St. Louis County Fire Chief Chuck Coyne. Also being honored are labor leader Dick Kellett, of Pipe Fitters Local 562, and civic leader Lou Hamilton, of Hamilton and Associates.

The Irish musical group Blackthorn, the Mayer Irish Dancers and the St. Louis Irish Session Players will perform. Seamus McDaniel’s will be catering the food. The event is open to the public. The suggested donation is $15.00 per person. Funds raised help underwrite the AOH Parade and help support Irish charities.

“We are really gratified by all the support St. Louis community, especially our labor unions have given the Hibernians," said AOH spokesman Jim Wahl. “The Hibernians also wants to thank Local 73 of the St. Louis Fire Department, Local 2665 of the St. Louis County Fire Department, the Emerald Society of St. Louis and the Brentwood American Legion for all their support in helping us put on this event to honor these outstanding individuals."
St. Louis will get one more opportunity to honor these individuals at the 26th annual Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick's Day Parade, Tuesday, March 17. The parade, a St. Louis tradition, passes through one of St. Louis' oldest Irish neighborhoods beginning at 11:30 p.m. south of the Tamm Avenue overpass at Oakland Boulevard. The route travels south on Tamm Avenue, past historic St. James the Greater Catholic Church, and ends at Lloyd Avenue south of St. James.

For more information on the AOH Award Ceremony contact Jim Wahl at (314) 421-3100.