Pat Sullivan has been named the Shamrock Club of New Dublin’s 27th Irish Man of the Year.
Sullivan grew up in the Bear Creek area, the youngest son of William and Mary Jane Sullivan. He has Irish on both sides of his family, with his mother being a Gorman of Manawa. His grandparents on the Gorman side were Michael and Kathryn. His paternal grandparents were Charles and Julia Sullivan.
Sullivan’s childhood home was always decorated in March. He recalls that the 17th of March was the only day of the year when he would be referred to as Patrick, instead of Pat. Of course, when he was in trouble his given name was used as well. He had six siblings: Barb, Mary, Bill, Tim, Peter, Beth and a brother lost at birth, Scott.
Sullivan is married to Bobbie, and they have two children and a grandson, Benjamin. Son Brandon helps out during St. Pat’s week, shadowing his father and helping out with the parade. “He gets tossed here and there, wherever we need him and he does a great job of adapting,” said a proud father.
Daughter Shayla loves to partake in the St. Patrick’s week-long festivities. She looks forward to dressing up and will attend the Irish ceili (dance) at Crystal Falls with her family. She’s a busy student who is running for student council at Sugar Bush.
Sullivan owns and operates Shamrock Construction, Inc., with a focus on agricultural projects. His background with Cleary Buildings set the stage for his existing business. With 16 employees, he’s a busy man. Last year his crew worked at Clinton Farms in Bear Creek and Eagan Farms in Lebanon.
When he’s not managing his business, Sullivan enjoys his involvement with the Shamrock Club of New Dublin. He’s also the president of Sugar Bush Youth Baseball and a member of the Lion’s Club.
“I guess it was the late ’80s that I started getting into my Irish heritage,” said Sullivan. As he drove through town one day inMarch, he saw a group of adult-sized leprechauns in the road ahead. They flagged him down for a ride. He was informed that they change New London signs to read New Dublin every year, and spend the day visiting local businesses, nursing homes and day cares. Sullivan was impressed by the outgoing leprechauns and it didn’t take long for Sullivan to become part of the yearly event.
“This year I am the ‘King Tut’ of the tent,” explained Sullivan. “For years it has been managed by others in the club, like the Clarks, and I’ve always helped out.” A modest volunteer like Pat would not tell you what a job this is. Setting up the dignitary stand and a platform for the Cable Access channel are other items Sullivan has added to his to do list over the years. “Not to mention snow control,” said Sullivan, “which can be very tricky.”
Six years ago, Sullivan had all he could do to keep the tent from collapsing under the weight of a heavy snow that fell early on the morning of the parade. “I was up all night, and had heaters going to melt the snow. I did such a good job that the snow fell off the tent and buried my compressors.”
That same year the parade was nearly cancelled due to the snow, but something wonderful happened instead. Every driver of every snow plow in the area showed up to help. “They came out of the woodwork and if it weren’t for those plows, we never would have had the parade,” said Sullivan. “It was incredible.”
If you’d like to congratulate Sullivan on being the Irish Man of the Year, you can find him in a green leprechaun outfit around New Dublin all day on March 14. Or perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of him as he dances with his daughter at the ceili on Friday night. He will be one of several dignitaries at the head of the parade on Saturday, at the talent show Thursday evening, or in the tent after the Grand Parade.