HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – On Wednesday, the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Committee named its 60th George E. O’Connell Award recipient.

The honor goes to Johnny Driscoll! The O’Connell award is given annually to a parade committee member, who has contributed significantly to the parade’s fundraising efforts. Kelly McGiverin won in 2023. 

Driscoll told 22News what he has enjoyed most since joining the parade committee nearly 12 years ago. “The parade committee is just a great organization. It’s a second family, these people we see on a weekly basis and they become some of your best friends,” said Driscoll. “We put on the best parade and it’s a great time and thats the best part about it.”

As a 12-year member of the Committee, Driscoll’s work as Co-Chair of the Past President’s Raffle, Michael Ahearn’s annual golf tournament, Marshal Mania, and other fundraising efforts has helped the Committee raise thousands of dollars to support the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade.

Driscoll has also served on the Music, Parade Coordination, Grand Marshal’s Reception, and Coronation Ball subcommittees. He was the Parade’s Town Crier for several years, getting the crowds ready for the parade. He was also recently elected to the Parade Committee board.

Driscoll’s involvement with the Parade has a lot to do with family history. His mother, Eileen, a retired Holyoke and East Longmeadow teacher and literacy coach, was a member of the Parade’s Grand Colleen Court in 1973, and his dad, John, was the 2020-2022 Grand Marshal. The Grand Marshal of the 1960 Parade, Dr. John J. Driscoll, was also the winner of the George E. O’Connell Award in 1973. His sister Nora, like her mother, was a member of the Colleen Court in 2002.  

His family’s deep history with the Parade inspired John to join the Parade Committee.  At each meeting, he announces the days, hours, and minutes left until the next Parade steps off onto Northampton Street.  In 2024, he’ll be marching with his parents, sisters Nora and Kathleen, nieces Lucy, Connie and Erin, nephew Owen (and maybe his dog Amos).

“Johnny Driscoll is one of our most hard-working, selfless and dedicated members,” said Hayley Dunn, Parade President. “When he’s not raising money for the Parade, he is always lending a hand to support his fellow Committee members and friends. Johnny is incredibly deserving of this honor and I look forward to seeing him march in the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade.” 

At the Grand Colleen Coronation Ball and Awards Night, John will be honored and presented with his award. The 71st Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade steps off March 17th and the 47th St. Patrick’s Road Race will be held the day before.

Local News

Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on X @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.