A war hero is the winner of IrishCentral's free trip to Ireland contest!
Bill Hurley, a 73-year-old Irish-American who holds dual citizenship, is the lucky winner of our sweepstakes trip to Ireland.
Hurley is the father of four daughters and has eight grandchildren. He lives in Cape Cod, Mass., and grew up in Somerville and Arlington (both near Boston).
At 17, he joined the Marines and served for 28 years of active duty. He was an Infantry officer, commanded a Marine rifle company during the siege of Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War in 1968, and retired as a Lt. Colonel.
His dad was born on St. Patrick's Day in 1900 in Glandore, West Cork. He was a member of the 3rd West Cork IRA Brigade, and was imprisoned in 1922 during the Civil War. He emigrated in 1926, never went back, and died in 1958.
His mother was from Doon in County Limerick (she was a Franklin). They raised six sons, and Bill was their third.
Fit and athletic, he enjoys jogging, playing handball at least three times a week, and even run a few local races annually. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Massachusetts, a Master's from Pepperdine University (when he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA), and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Bridgewater State College.
He is on the board of directors of the Sons of Erin Cape Cod. The group is now planning the first Irish festival in Hyannis, which will be held at The Melody Tent. The Saw Doctors have played there for the past 10 summers.
Hurley is "trying to learn a few words of Irish as I go along. He calls winning the trip "the best Christmas present ever.”