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Dignitaries

We have many dignitaries who are chosen annually and ride in the parade including Mr. Pat, Miss Shamrock, the Distinguished Irish Woman, the Grand Marshal, the Celebrity Grand Marshal, and the Honorary Irish Person.
We know the public is excited to see them and we thank them for generously donating their time!

2018 Dignitaries
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Mr. Pat: The king figure of the parade, Mr. Pat embodies the spirit of Saint Patrick's Day. Watch for him at our events. 
2018 Mr. Pat:  Mr. Joe Gallagher
 
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St. Paul, Minnesota native Joe Gallagher has over 20 years of experience in staging some of the biggest national and international sporting events in the world for major sports organizations including the NBA, Major League Baseball, WNBA, ESPN, NFL, NCAA, WCHA, PGA, United States Tennis Association, and many more.  Joe was the St. Paul Winter Carnival North Wind, Notos, in 2016.  He is looking forward to being Mr. Pat in 2018.

 
 
Distinguished Irish Woman: The Distinguished Irish Woman is, of course, Irish. She has also done outstanding work in her field and in the community. Each year the Association recognizes a hard working Irish woman (is there any other kind?) from the community. 

2018 Distinguished Irish Woman: Allison O'Toole
 
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This year’s Irish Gazette’s Distinguished Irish Woman, Allison O’Toole, is honored for her incredible activism in the community, her pride in her Irish heritage and as the person who led the turnaround of the State of Minnesota’s healthcare insurance marketplace, MNsure, where individuals compare and choose health insurance coverage to meet their needs.

When Allison accepted the position as MNsure’ s Deputy of External Affairs, in 2014, she was knowingly joining a state government program that was being pilloried by elected government officials, and receiving negative media coverage because of its troubled technical startup problems. Because of the results she achieved over the subsequent two years, she was elevated to become MNSure’s CEO by the end of 2015. She oversees a budget of $50 million and a staff of 200.

By Dennis McGrath

Excerpted from Irish Gazette’ Mick’s Column, Feb. 2018

Grand Marshal: A guest of honor asked to lead the parade.
 
2018 Grand Marshal: Neal Broten
 
Neal was born and raised in Roseau, MN.  A prolific hockey player, Neal was successful with the Rosea Rams, Minnesota Gophers, the gold medal winning 1980 US Olympic hockey team and a long career in the NHL.  Neal is a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame.  Since he retired from the NHL Neal has returned to the simpler life with his family on the farm.  He is looking forward to being part of this years parade.
Celebrity Grand Marshal: A celebrity guest of honor asked to lead the parade
2018 Celebrity Grand Marshal
 
Matt Birk
 
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Matt Birk was born and raised in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul. He attended Nativity of our Lord Grade School, Cretin- Derham Hall High School, and a college on the east coast so uppity he refuses to acknowledge it by name. Matt has been blessed enough to play for the Minnesota Vikings in the past.
 
Matt and his wife, Adrianna, live in Mendota Heights, and have 3 beautiful daughters and plan on continuing to grow their family. It is unclear how Irish Matt is, but with his flaming red hair and willingness to participate in any celebration honoring St. Patrick, he gets the benefit of the doubt.
 
Honorary Irishman: Saint Pat's Day may be an Irish holiday, but it's a day for all cultures to enjoy. Each year the Association names a non-Irish member of the community as its Honorary Irishman. While this person is not necessarily Irish, he embodies the spirit and character of the Irish and the holiday.
 
2018 Honorary Irishman:    Jason Tschida
 
Jason Tschida is a life long St. Paul resident.  He attended college a University of St. Thomas.  In 2000, he became the owner of DeGidio's Restaurant.  Jason is married and has 2 children, Jessie and Josie.  Jason loves to travel and is an avid skier.
                                                                                                                                                                
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