On Friday, September 23rd, the Washington, DC Young Leaders hosted their signature “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” Celebration.
Over 140 Young Leaders and supporters of The American Ireland Fund packed Bobby Van’s Grill on New York Avenue to raise money for great Irish organizations and recognize an outstanding American, Dillon Behr.
The evening began with an intimate VIP reception where guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. National Director of the Young Leaders, Pat Tully, greeted the supporters and introduced Stewart Matthews, First Secretary of the Northern Ireland Bureau, who spoke about the great partnership between The American Ireland Fund and Northern Ireland and all of the organizations that have benefitted from events such as those hosted by the Young Leaders in Washington, DC.
Stewart then introduced Michael Lonergan, Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Ireland. Michael spoke about the incredible bond between Ireland and The United States. He also thanked The Ireland Funds for 40 years of support of Irish charities.
As the party got into full swing, the guests enjoyed the live music by the band 40 Thieves and browsed the silent auction while also enjoying a buffet dinner.
Later in the evening, Pat Tully welcomed the guests and spoke about the incredible dedication of the Young Leaders in DC. Megan Molloy was recognized and thanked for serving several years as Steering Committee Chair.
Megan thanked the DC Young Leaders for their support and reminded them to get home early in order to get up and get ready to run the DC leg of The Ireland Funds 3rd annual Global 5K run the next morning!
Megan then introduced Vice Steering Chair Patrick Lyden who spoke about the network that the DC Young Leaders have built and then introduced Congressman Tom Rooney of Florida.
Congressman Rooney then spoke about his personal connection to Ireland and his family’s connection to the rich history of The Ireland Funds, started by his uncle Dan Rooney. Congressman Rooney, who sits on the Committee for Veterans Affairs, introduced Patriot Award Honoree Dillon Behr, and highlighted Dillon’s heroism in Afghanistan in a fight that was memorialized by National Geographic Channel in a television series titled No Man Left Behind.
Dillon thanked The American Ireland Fund and accepted the award on behalf of the other soldiers in his unit that bravely fought with him in Afghanistan against the Taliban.
Pat Tully then led a spirited auction that included a private dinner hosted by the chef of The Fainting Goat restaurant in Washington, DC.
The celebration continued on with dancing and more music from 40 Thieves and then the guests moved on to The Fainting Goat for the after-party.
Special thanks to the event committee led by Megan Molloy and Patrick Lyden as well as Susan O’Neill and the sponsors for the evening, led by Merrill Lynch, the Northern Ireland Bureau, Oldcastle, Jameson Irish Whiskey Manny and the staff at Bobby Van’s Grille as well as The Dupont Circle Hotel.