HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Every year before the big parade members of the Holyoke community celebrate the life of President John F. Kennedy. And, then afterward a resident of the area is honored with an award in his name.
Local dignitaries, the Colleens, the recipient of this year’s JFK Award Lenny Jacobson, and more were in attendance. This mass was a part of several events on Saturday that honored the late President John F. Kennedy, who was of Irish heritage and the first Catholic president. President Kennedy also participated in the 1958 Holyoke St Patrick’s Parade with their wife, Jackie.
“Kicking the weekend off by, and honoring our Catholic heritage, which so many of us have. And, honoring him is something that, when he was our National Award Winner, it was such a way to honor him and be a part of the city. And it was a great recognition to have the Kennedy family approve this monument and to agree that we could keep and maintain this site, and honor him every year. So it’s very meaningful to come back here,” expressed Holyoke Parade Grand Marshall Jane Chevalier.
President Kennedy also participated in the 1958 Holyoke St Patrick’s Parade with their wife, Jackie.
The St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke is holding its annual JFK Award Reception Saturday evening after the Mass. The John F. Kennedy National Award honors an American of Irish descent who has distinguished themselves in their chosen field.
Actor and Holyoke native Lenny Jacobson was this year’s recipient of the John F. Kennedy National Award given by The St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke. When asked which was better, being in movies with Ashton Kutcher and Cuba Gooding Jr. or receiving this award he said it’s not even close, it’s getting this award.
The JFK award reception takes place annually at the Log Cabin and past winners include governors, astronauts, and more.
“It’s been such an incredible honor. It’s something I will take with me for the rest of my life as one of the great honors of my life,” expressed Jacobson.
Even while living in Los Angeles for the last 22 years, he has been able to get back to Holyoke a couple of times a year to see friends and family, and he couldn’t be more excited to receive this honor.
“He is a true Holyoke kid, he is born and bred. He is excited to be home and he’s happy to be here. So having the opportunity to not only be honored but to walk in it means a lot to them and the city of Holyoke,” said JFK Reception Co-Chair Kelsey Lecca.
Jacobson has built a successful career in Hollywood starring in T.V. shows and movies like Modern Family and the Steve Jobs biopic, Jobs. But, to him, he’s never forgotten about his hometown and his heritage.
“It’s been something that I’ve kept very close to my heart while I’ve been gone as well. To know that there’s a group of people that always have your back means a lot,” said Jacobson.
Now Jacobson remembers coming to the parade every year as a kid and he said that his favorite part was these special French Fries he would always have. On Sunday he plans on fulfilling a childhood dream and walking the parade with those fries.