ORANGE – Last night, on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, the City of Orange recognized State Senator and former Governor Richard J. Codey as the 2010 “Irishman of the Year.”
“It’s a great honor to be named ‘Irishman of the Year’ by the City of Orange,” said Senator Codey, D-Roseland. “My family’s roots run deep here, and growing up in Orange has helped mold me into the person I am today. To come back to the city and receive this award means a lot to me.”
Senator Codey joins the ranks of past Irishmen of the Year, including his own father, Donald. The Essex County lawmaker, who grew up in the family’s funeral parlor in Orange, said that while he was humbled at the prospect of honoring his family’s heritage, he was especially touched by the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I followed my dad into the funeral parlor business, and I try every day to be the type of husband and father he was to us,” said Senator Codey. “To be given the chance once again to follow in his footsteps in receiving this award is truly a blessing.
“We’ve come a long way from the days when Irish immigrants were shunned for their ethnicity,” added Senator Codey. “There was a time in our recent past when Irish immigrants were turned away in droves, and were not allowed to fully participate in the Great American Dream. For all those who felt the sting of ‘Irish Need Not Apply’ prejudices, and for my mom and dad, who raised me to be proud of who I am, I’m happy to accept the City of Orange’s ‘Irishman of the Year’ award.”