Co-Grand Marshals Joanie and Bernie Mahoney

St. Patrick's Parade

This year’s parade slogan is Syracuse. Irish. Family. The committee elected to have co-grand marshals for this year’s parade, Bernie and Joanie Mahoney. Bernie Mahoney served as a City Counselor and State Assemblyman. His daughter, Joanie Mahoney served 11 years as Onondaga County Executive and is now the Chief Operations Officer at SUNY ESF.

“I really am excited and grateful,” says Joanie about the honor of being elected a co-grand marshal. Joanie called her father with the news of being elected and after a few moments into the conversation Bernie asked, “Who are you co-grand marshal with?” Joanie replied, “Bernie Mahoney.”

“I thought she was talking about her brother!” says Bernie. “Indeed I was surprised.”

The Mahoney family immigrated to the United States from Ireland in the mid 1800s. Bernie is “quite proud” of his Irish ancestory. “It means a lot of good things. But it means family.” Being immigrants the family struggled for a few generations. Bernie’s generation was the first to go to college. “It didn’t turn out too bad,” jokes Bernie.

For Joanie, it also means family. She grew up with a big Irish family and remembers gatherings with extended family at her grandparents’ house. Now she and her 8 brothers and sisters, who all live in town with their families, gather at Bernie and his wife’s house.

Bernie started his journey in public service by helping a candidate for mayor he met while living in Watertown. He helped the candidate with his campaign. “That was a little taste of it,” says Bernie. “We were in a position to do something.”

“He’s always been the kind of person who  goes, not just the extra mile, but all the way until it’s done. And we had a really good example of what it was like to be good neighbors, good friends, good citizens. And I was able to see up close, when my father was on the Syracuse Common Council that you could help people. I really feel like I had the best job ever being able to follow in those footsteps,” says Joanie. “I had an example of politics being an honorable service and something you did as a service.”

 You can catch Joanie and her father, Bernie leading the Syracuse Saint Patrick’s Parade Saturday, March 16th. The Parade kicks off at noon. NewsChannel 9 will reair it’s broadcast of the parade Saturday night at 7pm and again Sunday morning at 11am on MeTV. 

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