For the first time, an organization is the recipient of the Holyoke St Patrick's Committee's prestigious Ambassador Award, which is given to someone who bridges the gap between the United States and Ireland.
This year's winner, the Belfast-Beltway Boxing Project, was announced at the Yankee Pedlar on Friday.
Based in Washington, D.C., the organization provides support for at-risk youth through cultural exchange and international amateur sports. The Belfast-Beltway Boxing Project invites young boxers and their coaches from Belfast to travel to Washington to train together and learn about each other's cultures, ending the visit with a "Fight Night" between the two teams. The project began bringing their students to Belfast for a similar trip in January 2012.
Masslive.com reports that Parade President Jane Chevalier and the award selection committee chairs Kateri Walsh and Fred Sullivan presented The Belfast-Beltway Boxing Project with the 2014 Ambassador Award, along with co-recipient Timothy Curry, who is on the Board of Directors. Also present was William Tranghese, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal’s press secretary and vice president of the boxing project.
The Belfast-Beltway Boxing Project also highlights its connection to Holyoke, the boxing capital of Western Massachusetts.
“We hope to bring some of our boxers to the St. Patrick’s Road Race and make connections with the local boxers in Holyoke,” said Tranghese.
The winner of the Ambassador Award must be approved by the Republic of Ireland government before it can be awarded.