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TOPS Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade Honorees

The 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade Honorees 

Barry Culhane 

Grand Marshal
Dr. Barry Culhane

Dr. Barry Culhane is both the Executive Assistant to the President and an associate professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Barry is a Rochester native, attending Gates-Chili High School and then going on the University of Windsor in Canada. After college, he served in the US Army as a medic from 1969-71.

Barry serves on the Al Sigl Community of Agencies Board of Governors and the Al Sigl Community of Agencies Board of Directors, where he served as Chair from 2004-06. He currently serves on the Capital Campaign Committee and helped initiate the alliance between Al Sigl and RIT to focus on research to increase “Access and Inclusion”.

As a current member of the Rochester Rotary Club, he served as President from 2000-01. He is a two-time Paul Harris Award recipient, and was named Chair of the Rotary Award Committee in 2015. Barry has also served as Chair of the Board of Upstate Multiple Sclerosis. He was named the Multiple Sclerosis “Angel” of the year in 2007.

In 1987, Barry became the President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial of Greater Rochester. The Memorial, which has found its home in Highland Park, has been a place of great pride and solace since its dedication in 1996. The memorial commemorates the service, valor, and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans, as well as all who were touched by the effects of the war. This unique place of tranquility and honor, provides an opportunity for learning, remembering, and peaceful reflection.

Barry has received countless awards for his work, including the individual community Volunteer of the Year as the recipient of the United Way of Greater Rochester, and the Outstanding Service Award from Vietnam Veterans of America. In 2006, Mayor Bob Duffy and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks declared September 8th “Barry Culhane Day” in recognition of his 20-year term as President of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

One of Barry’s hobbies is pen and ink line drawing and, since 1981, he has created 35 original Christmas card drawings. Barry also enjoys photography, golf, collecting sports memorabilia, writing and travel. Currently, he resides in Pittsford, with his wife Christine. His daughters Katie and Cari reside in Florida and North Carolina, respectively.

It is our great honor to recognize Barry Culhane as the Grand Marshal for the
 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Catholic Community Services  

Community Organization of the Year
 Catholic Charities Community Services

Catholic Charities Community Services began in 1980, in response to a call from Roman Catholic Bishop Matthew Clark of the Diocese of Rochester to address the unmet needs of those with developmental disabilities. They opened their first residential home in Lyons, NY for 12 individuals who were moving from institutional settings to a place they could truly call home.

Today Catholic Charities continues the tradition of supporting the independence and inclusiveness of individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as many others who have significant health challenges, including traumatic brain injuries, and HIV/AIDS. Annually they serve over 3,000 people of all faiths and backgrounds throughout the 12 counties of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester with a variety of services including: 13 residences, programs that support the independence of care coordination, behavioral health programs and efforts that help people find jobs and stable housing.

Community Services is one of nine Catholic Charities organizations within the Diocese of Rochester. They employ 300 compassionate staff members, many of whom are long-term employees of over 20 years. The staff and the agency have been recognized for excellence in service by the Rochester Area Task Force on AIDS, The NYS Justice Center, the NYS Association for Community and Residential Agencies and the Department of Health/AIDS Institute.

In the past three years, Catholic Charities Community Services has seen significant growth in services and nearly tripled the number of people they serve. As they plan for continued growth, they remain focused on each unique individual—their needs, goals and talents. Catholic Charities’ board and staff are truly driven to provide superior services, advocacy and compassionate support to empower individuals to recognize their full potential and live with dignity as people of God.

It is a great privilege that we recognize Catholic Charities Community Services as the
 Community Organization of the Year for the 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Todd Baxter

Community Leader of the Year

Todd Baxter

Todd Baxter is a 27-year veteran of local law enforcement, with more than 22 years of service with the Rochester Police Department, and four years as Chief of Police in the Greece Police Department. Chief Baxter joined the local force following three years of active duty with the US Army. He continued his military service with the US Army Reserves, for another 19 years before retiring in 2005 as a Master Sergeant, specializing in Anti-Terrorism Safety and Training.

Tapped to lead local law enforcement through a period of transition in Greece, Todd was praised for his efforts in creating initiatives of public and private partnership, and his focus on the ethical responsibility and professional development of his team. He has recognized the role family wellness plays in supporting the overall success of an individual.

In April of 2014, Todd assumed the duties of Executive Director of the Veterans Outreach Center here in Rochester. Founded locally in 1973 by returning Vietnam Vets, the Center strives to provide comprehensive resources to current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families…. through direct service, community collaboration, and advocacy. Thanks to the generosity of our community, all programs are provided free of charge. Currently the Center serves the region's 68,000 veterans and their families.

One of the Veterans Outreach Center’s organizational values is “Veterans & Families First” serving them selflessly, with gratitude and respect, and it is with respect… and gratitude that we recognize Todd Baxter as the Community Leader of the Year for the
2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Connors and Ferris

Business Leaders of the Year

Connors and Ferris

Greg Connors and Tom Ferris opened the doors of their firm in 2001 with the idea that there was a better way to represent injured and disabled workers. Since that time, Connors & Ferris has established itself as Western New York’s premiere law firm dedicated to representing injured and disabled workers and their families.

Greg and Tom have each been active in supporting their communities; serving in local government, coaching youth athletics, sitting as board members of philanthropic and charitable organizations. Tom and Greg have been integral to Rochester’s Irish cultural community by supporting major events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Celtic Festival.

The success that Greg and Tom have achieved is in no small measure due to their Irish roots. Greg’s and Tom’s ancestries can each be traced back to Cork, Ireland and their families arrived in North America (Greg’s in The USA and Tom’s in Canada) with a dedication to family, strong work ethic and desire to succeed. It is these qualities which have underpinned the success of Connors & Ferris and which sets them apart from other firms.

We are pleased to recognize Greg Connors and Tom Ferris as the Business Leaders of the Year for the
2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Gayle Shalvoy 

Citizen of the Year

Gayle Shalvoy

Gayle Shalvoy is an active member of the community, not only with “all things Irish” but with her church, sports, politics, work, and family. She has been married to Chris Shalvoy (2009 Citizen of the Year) for 31 years. Their son, Raymond, attends Westminster College and is the captain of the Westminster Titans Lacrosse Team. Gayle has worked at Rochester Software Associates for 18 years and is the manager of the Customer Service Technical Support team. She lives in East Rochester and attends St. Jerome’s Church. As an active member of the parish, she has been a teacher in the RCIA program for the past 8 years, a past member of Parish Council and a Eucharistic Minister.

Gayle is a long-time member and the current President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, whose charter is over 100 years old. She is proud member of the Rochester Police Emerald Society which supports local law enforcement and their families. Gayle has been a strong supporter of the TOPS Rochester St Patrick’s Day Parade and helps organize the yearly “Irish Night with the Amerks” Hockey Game. For many years, she coordinated the Children’s Area at the Rochester Irish Festival.

As a member of the Col. Patrick O’Rorke Society (which was a major influence in the naming of the O’Rorke Bridge), she and the society most recently held a centennial celebration and remembrance of the 1916 Easter Rising which many consider to be the anniversary of Ireland’s freedom. The event was sponsored by the Irish Consulate and was attended by Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv, the great grandson of the first President of Ireland and who is a currently serving as a member of Parliament.

Outside of her participation in the Rochester “Irish Community”, Gayle is the secretary of the East Rochester Republican Committee, and a member and past officer of the Rochester DX Association and holds her amateur radio licensed as N2TWI. She was previously involved in the auto racing community where she was a member of Sports Car Club of America and held offices in the Corvair Owners Club of Rochester.

When her son was young, she was involved with scouting as a den leader and “Team Mom” for both football and lacrosse. Gayle played lacrosse on the “Fann Cup” team (the Rochester Krewhawks) who play in yearly tournaments for charity.

It is our honor to recognize Gayle Shalvoy as the Citizen of the Year for the
 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Jenn Suhr 

Sports Person of the Year
Jenn Suhr

Jenn Suhr is a 17 time US Champion, World Record Holder, World and Olympic Champion in the pole vault.

Jenn Suhr grew up in Fredonia, New York and got involved in sports at a young age, playing softball when she was only six years old. At nine, she competed in an adult golf league with her grandfather. At Fredonia High School, she played softball, basketball, soccer, and track and field, and won the New York State pentathlon title as a senior in 2000.

Jenn went on to Roberts Wesleyan College, where she competed in basketball, as well as track and field. She graduated as the school all-time leading scorer in basketball… and with a bachelor degree in psychology.

Jenn’s life changed when she met Rich Suhr in 2004. He saw her extraordinary athletic ability and thought she would be great at pole vaulting. She had never jumped before she was 22 years old. Rick is quoted as saying, “There’s a mental toughness to her, an obsessiveness that has made her go beyond everybody else.”

In 2005 Jenn entered the USA Indoor Championships in Boston, as an unknown, unseeded competitor, and won the US title after only training for 10 months. She has gone on to win world championships and is a three-time Olympian winning a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and a gold medal in London in 2012. Closer to home Jenn has been voted Buffalo's greatest female athlete of all-time.

Besides sports, Jenn is a huge animal lover and donates much of her time to animal care.

The Parade Committee is honored to recognize Jenn Suhr as the Sports Person of the Year for the
 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann

Honorary Marshals

Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann

The Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (Col-tus Ceol-tori Erin) also known as the Irish Musician’s Association, is the world’s largest cultural organization involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music and song. The Comhaltas (Col-tus) as they are commonly known, is a non-profit cultural movement with hundreds of local branches around the world, including 70 in North America. The local chapter here in Rochester was founded in 1986, and is named the Tom Finucane Branch, after a beloved former local musician.

Members have been working for the cause of promoting Irish music since the organization’s founding in Ireland in 1951. Each week throughout the year you can find the Comhaltas holding Irish music jam sessions, Irish Country Dance (set dancing) workshops and flute, fiddle and accordion classes. They have also held an annual Traditional Irish Music Workshop Day for the last sixteen years at Nazareth and St. John Fisher Colleges. At all of these events the musicians share tunes, songs, and dances that are open to all levels. In addition, the Comhaltas sponsors concerts with musicians from Ireland, as well as Irish American musicians. They also hold Ceili (kay-lee) Dances several times a year. These Ceilis are old-time Irish parties with live music and plenty of dancing, laughter, and Craic… an Irish word for a great time!

We are proud to recognize the Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann as the Honorary Marshal for the
 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Denny O'Keefe

In Memoriam Honoree
Dennis O’Keefe

Dennis Joseph O’Keefe III (Denny) was born to Mary Delaney O’Keefe and Dennis J. O’Keefe Jr. in Queens, NY on July 6, 1954. Denny went to St. Patrick’s School in Bay Shore, NY and graduated from Chaminade Catholic High School in 1972. Recruited for football, Denny attended University of Rochester, and in doing so, decided to stay and make Rochester his home.

In October 1987 Denny and Susan Mayne met and were married in October, 1988. They had two children, Kalcy Delaney in 1990 and Dennis J. O’Keefe IV in 1993. Denny and Susan celebrated their 28th anniversary two weeks before his sudden death.

Denny had an extensive resume for volunteer activities. Denny was a #8 man for the Rochester Colonials Rugby Club, and was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, O’Rourke Division where he was given the AOH Kelly-Magill Award in 2007, The AOH Brother of the year award in 2009, and the AOH Hibernian of the Year award in 2010. Denny was also a member of the Rochester Police Emerald Society, where he was Emerald of the Year in 2011. Denny sang in the St John the Evangelist Church Choir, was a Monroe County Elections Inspector, volunteered at the Annual Huntington Disease 5K race, and the Annual Honor Flight Golf Tournament. He was a faithful blood donor.

Denny lived his life to help others and worked hard to make things right. Like St. Patrick, he was a true servant, and a true “Man for Others.”

It is our honor to recognize Denny O’Keefe, a man who gave so much to the Rochester community, as one of our “In Memoriam” honorees for the
 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Pat Fee

In Memoriam Honoree

Pat Fee

Patrick Anthony Fee was born in 1932 in Drumshanbo, County Leitrim, Ireland. His parents were Richard and Winifred Fee. He was raised with three sisters and one brother, and worked on the family farm until his teenage years. It was on the farm that he learned the work ethic that followed him throughout his life. When all the children were grown, Patrick’s parents adopted a son Patrick Joseph McTiernan.

Patrick started his journey by working outside of Ireland in Europe helping to build the underground infrastructure in England and surrounding areas. Later Patrick made the long ocean voyage to the United States via the Hibernia to NYC. Once there he headed to his Uncle Patrick’s house in Jamestown, NY. He worked there until the work ran out. After that, he headed west to Rochester to start a career in installing equipment in dental offices.

Rochester is where he met his wife Eileen and started a family. They were blessed with four children Kevin, John, Richard, and Siobhan. Patrick thrived as a father and business man. Over the years, Patrick felt he wanted to provide a better life for his family, so he learned and mastered the art of plastering. Over the years, he started his company with a close friend Patrick O’Keeffe. In the early 1980s, he grew his own successful business which lasted over 40 years.

He has left everlasting footprints of his success all over the Rochester area which can be seen and enjoyed to this day. In addition to his footprints in the business community, Patrick was very involved in his local community and church. There aren’t too many people in Rochester/Fairport community who haven’t heard of Patrick Fee or know his work. His wife Eileen says, “There is a good chance he either worked on your house or someone you know.”

Patrick is predeceased by his son Kevin He is survived by his wife Eileen of 54 years, children John, (Susan) Siobhan (Darren) Whitaker, Richard (Teresa) and grandchildren, Alexandra and Austen Fee and Analisa Cosco. Also, survived by sisters in Ireland, Mrs. Mary O’Grady, Mrs. Teresa Mahan, Mrs. Bridget Watters, and sisters-in-law Maisie Fee and Babs McTiernan.

It is our honor to recognize Pat Fee as one of our “In Memoriam” honorees for the
 2017 TOPS Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade


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Contact Us


TOPS Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee
6558 4th Section Rd.
Box 199
Brockport, NY 14420-2472


The St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of Rochester's oldest  traditions.

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