Judge James McKay is elected to top job by largest Irish group, Ancient Order of the Hibernians. AOH

Atlantic City: The AOH, men and ladies, kicked off the 2016 National Convention at Harrah’s, Atlantic City, NJ by electing a new National President Judge James McKay from New Orleans.The AOH is America’s largest organization.

A distinguished jurist, McKay was inducted as Chief Judge of the Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. His leadership of the nation’s judiciary includes service as president of the American Judges Association and a member of the American Judges Association Board of Governors since 1996.

Outgoing AOH National President, Brendan Moore, opened proceedings by outlining convention procedures and calling for support for the new slate of officers.

Moore said: “I have counted on, sought and received encouragement and support, not only from our national officers and state presidents, but from many of you as well.

“Clearly I have been blessed in that you have been kind and generous in offering me your valuable ideas and advice. Please continue to be as helpful in assisting our new officers as they seek to serve us all.”

Judge James F. McKay from New Orleans, who was unopposed in standing for the national presidency, will now lead the order through the next two years.

As vice president, McKay coordinated the national day for Hibernian America to commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising Centenary that culminated in Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

During his 2016-2018 term of office, among other matters, President McKay will focus on addressing membership, new divisions and the economic stability of the order.

Supporting National President McKay will be Ohio’s Daniel O’Connell.

As the newly-elected National Vice President, O’Connell has been instrumental in moving the order into the 21st century with innovations such as improved communications via e-mail service, electronic checking, investment policy, real time accounting, and many other areas.

J.J. Kelly, chairman of the Veterans Committee, advised delegates that funds were being sought to improve the Medal of Honor Grove at Valley Forge, which is reportedly in deplorable condition.

The AOH maintains an obelisk there.

Read more: AOH awards Major General Brady the JFK Memorial Medal

Coincidentally, Major General Patrick H. Brady, USA (Ret.), from San Antonio, TX was present to receive the order’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Gold Medallion.

A faithful and spiritually-centered man, General Brady is active in the Medal of Honor Society’s character-building program wherein MOH recipients personally address the nation’s youth.

He is the former president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and author of “Dead Men Flying,” which chronicles his experiences with the origin and execution of Aero Medical evacuation in Vietnam.

Called “Dust Off,” it was the greatest battlefield lifesaver in history.

Accompanying General Brady to Atlantic City was his wife Nancy. They are parents of six children.

The Ladies AOH elected Illinois’ Patricia O’Connell as their National Board President.

Ohio’s Carol Sheyer was elected Vice President; Karen Keane, New York, Secretary, and Cleveland’s Marilyn Madigan, Treasurer.

Others elected were Dee Wallace, Irish Historian; Mary Ann Lubinsky, Missions and Charities and Colleen Bowers, Catholic Action.

As previously reported, New York’s Agnes O’Leary was the recipient of the 2016 St. Brigid of Ireland Humanitarian Award in recognition of her generous and extraordinary humanitarian works within the order and her local community.

Guest speaker, Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson, discussed the economic situation in Ireland while highlighting a most important figure, that being the steadily dropping unemployment rate, which is currently under nine percent.

“At the same time, we have absolutely no basis for complacency. The election results in February showed how bruised many people feel by the austerity of recent years.

“Serious questions are being asked: How fairly was the burden of sacrifice distributed and how evenly is the recovery being experienced? The challenges facing the new government are considerable, particularly given current uncertainties in the European and global environment,” Anderson said.

In 2018, the AOH and LAOH National Convention will return to Louisville, KY the week of July 11 -14.

The venue for the convention will be the Galt House, a 25 story, 1300 room hotel named after the original, where, in 1862, Union General Jefferson C. Davis shot and killed another Union General, William “Bull” Nelson.

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