The Ancient Order of Hibernians has a long and proud history. First in Ireland protecting the Catholic Church and Clergy. Next here in the New World doing the same, along with welcoming and protecting new arrivals, preserving and promoting our heritage, and giving service to the greater community.Nowhere has this proud tradition been supported and strengthened more than here in Suffolk County, New York. Men like Jim Hayes, Mike Murphy, Ray Meehan, Pat Shannon and so many others that have come before us developed and nurtured what has become the largest AOH County in the United States. It is not just numbers that make this county great. The strong principles and the deep commitment to Hibernianism as exemplified by those who came before have created an organization to be envied.Another man, who belongs among the greatest of our beloved fraternity, has left us for his final reward. John Hennessey, a respected leader at all levels of our organization, passed on August 16, 2013. John was a man who embraced our ideals of Friendship, Unity, and Christian charity. He was someone who, for me and many others, was a respected role model and an inspirational mentor. He helped all of us to be better Hibernians and, therefore, better people.John was a man who could lead us solely by the example that he set. Unlike so many so-called leaders in today’s world, John understood that with authority comes responsibility. He would expect much from his brother Hibernians, but never near as much as he expected and gave of himyself. More importantly, although John understood organizational politics, he always did what he believed to be the right thing for the AOH, not just that which would bring personal benefit. A noble trait that has become all too rare in the world today.We will miss John for so many reasons. His knowledge of our protocol and procedures was beyond any of us. His institutional memory of how and why things were developed and implemented essentially goes with him. His never ending willingness to tutor and promote people who were new to the various levels of our order is hard to replace. John does, however, leave us with so many gifts. We'll keep everything that he taught us. We will remember and try to emulate his love for and devotion to our order. And, perhaps, we can try to live by the example of his life. We can try in our daily lives to be all of the good things that he exemplified: To be men of devotion to faith and family. To serve our country and community. To be proud of our heritage and culture. To always be cognizant of where we came from so that we have guidance to know where we are going. Rest in Peace and enjoy your well-earned reward John.
David A. Ring
Ancient Order of Hibernians Suffolk County Historian