The East End Emerald Society is breaking new ground with this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Jamesport.
For the first time in its seven-year history, the parade’s grand marshal will be a woman: Dawn Thomas of Jamesport.
“Somebody brought it up at another event and asked us, ‘When are you going to have a woman grand marshal?’ ” said John Cuddy, one of the parade organizers.
The subject came up again in a conversation with Ms. Thomas at a Jamesport Fire Department event. Her husband, Chuck, is a fire commissioner.
She later accepted the invitation.
“She’s known as a good person who will help with just about anything,” Mr. Cuddy said, adding that Ms. Thomas is very active in the community.
“I was definitely very humbled by their request,” Ms. Thomas said in an interview. “To have had six fantastic public servants and community members serve in that role before me is an honor.”
Ms. Thomas will be the parade’s seventh grand marshal; she is preceded by Joe Grattan Sr., Sean Walter, Jim Wooten, Sean McCabe, Justice Allen Smith and Jack Cuddy, John’s father.
The Emerald Society will hold its grand marshal event fundraiser at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at The Vineyards at Aquebogue.
“That’s were she gets the grand marshal sash, the shillelagh, the green jacket and the tophat,” Mr. Cuddy said.
The parade, which will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28, will run along Route 25 from Washington Avenue to the Jamesport Fire Department on Manor Lane.
Ms. Thomas said she’s Irish on her father’s side of the family; his mother’s name was Agnes McMeneny.
“There’s about 26 different variations of the spelling,” she said.
Ms. Thomas currently is Riverhead Town’s community development director and was previously the town attorney. She also was a member of the town’s Industrial Development Agency for about six years.
In addition, Ms. Thomas said she’s been involved in various youth sports, such as the Police Athletic League, where she coached youth soccer and softball, as well as lacrosse.
She’s also been a member of the Riverhead wrestling booster club, she said.
She has three sons, who graduated from Riverhead High School, and one daughter, a senior.