All Things Irish: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day parade organizers who are also healthcare heroes

All Things Irish

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Members of the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee were met with shock when the 2020 parade was postponed due to COVID. Some members then got to work doing their jobs as healthcare heroes at the start of the pandemic.

“My friend called me as I left work, the Monday after the ball and she said, ‘The parade is canceled,’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not!'” says Joanne Connor, explaining the shock she felt in March 2020 as the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade was postponed in the very early stage of the pandemic.

“It was a shock,” emphasized Bernadette Canning, who serves as secretary on the parade’s board.

And, for Margie Bohan, the loss was very personal.

“My biggest thing was just sadness, you know I was sad and upset about my brother, Seamus,” she says, speaking of the Grand Marshal of the parade.

But Bohan, Canning and Connor – who all contribute to the parade committee – got to work doing their jobs as healthcare heroes.

“I’ve been at work every day. It was stressful in the beginning, but that’s what I signed up for,” says Connor, who is constantly working with the public working in a clinic for hospital employees.

And Canning is the practice manager at a pediatrician’s office.

“It was very fluid – we had to learn how to do tele-health,” she says.

Bohan has been in the trenches as a visiting nurse, oftentimes working with Covid patients.

“You do feel like now with this crisis and God awful virus, you’re taking care of these sick people,” she says. “So, it makes you feel good and then when we discharge them, we know they’re better.”

The community has stayed in touch with – you guessed it – monthly ZOOM meetings that have proved to be quite popular.

“Honestly, I’ve been very impressed with how many people attend the meetings,” says Canning.

But the women are all longing to return to the camaraderie of the face-to-face gatherings.

“We do miss seeing each other in-person I think everyone misses everyone,” says Connor.

And they’re all looking forward to the return of the beloved parade whenever it can happen safely.

“It has to happen next year, we’re counting on it for next year,” says Bohan. “I just feel like everyone has to have this huge celebration next year.”

Since the parade isn’t kicking off in the Elm City again this year, join us on Sunday, March 14 at 1 p.m. on News 8 for a celebration of All Things Irish and a look back at parades from years past.

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