Bring out your green Sunday, March 17, for the 105th annual Greater Pittston Friendly Sons St. Patrick’s Day Dinner. The celebration will be held at the Woodlands Inn and Resort starting at 4:30 p.m. with a presidential cocktail party, followed by cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30.
Qadry Ismail will be guest speaker. “The Missile” was a football and track standout at E.L. Meyers High School and an All-American at Syracuse University before playing for 10 years in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts and winning a Super Bowl in 2001 with the Ravens. He is a cohost of the WJZ-TV13 Purple Connection Show covering the Ravens and is in his ninth season as head track and field boys coach at Patterson Mill High School. He also works in sports and human performance at the Sports Factory in Bel Air, Maryland.
Tickets are available from any Friendly Son and at the Knights of Columbus in Pittston any Thursday night until the banquet. Ticket prices vary, $80 for 21 and over, $50 for 12 to 20 years old, and $25 for patrons under 12. Guests will be served a prime rib dinner, but also have a fish option, served with light refreshments and a cash bar.
While the dinner is the Friendly Sons’ signature event each year, it is far from the only noteworthy contribution to the local community. The Greater Pittston Friendly Sons was founded in 1914 and has since continued to give back to the Greater Pittston community.
“The group participates in honoring and continuing our Irish roots and Irish heritage in the Greater Pittston area,” said Patrick Bilbow, advisor for the organization. “One of the biggest things we like to do is we like to participate in charitable efforts within the community. We give out scholarships to students in our local schools each year.” Each scholarship is worth up to $3,000 and is awarded to students in the Wyoming Area and Pittston Area school districts.
Along with giving back to the community, the Friendly Sons also will recognize their own for individual successes members have achieved. President Shawn Slusser will present the following awards and honors at the annual dinner:
Martin F. Quinn will receive the Achievement Award.
Quinn has served the Pittston community for 28 years as a member of the Pittston Area School Board and was instrumental in construction of the primary center in Hughestown, which was named in his honor in 2016. He also is a board member of the Parking Authority of the City of Pittston.
The 2010 Greater Pittston Friendly Sons Man of the Year, Quinn has been involved with several local organizations, including the Friendly Sons, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and President John F. Kennedy Knights of Columbus and its Fourth Degree. He also is a social member of the Dupont Polish American Citizens Club, Avoca’s West Side Social Club and the Pittston Twp. Italian Club.
The son of Martin J. and Margaret Mitchell Quinn, he was reared in the Cork Lane section of Pittston Twp. and is a 1955 graduate of Pittston Central Catholic. After serving in the Army, he was employed by Lehigh Valley Railroad and Conrail Inc. for more than 30 years, retiring in 1999, and was recording secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1153 and former member of Teamsters Union Local 701.
He resides in Pittston with his wife, Barbara. They have three sons, Mitch and his wife, Kim; Mike and his wife, Tara, and Brian and his wife, Denise, and five grandchildren.
Bill Williams will be presented the Swingle Award.
Williams graduated from Pittston Area in 1973 and earned an associate degree in industrial electronics from Luzerne County Community College and a real estate license from Penn State. He earned his EMT in 1977 and has been involved with the Pittston City Ambulance Association since 1973. He has been a member of Hughestown Hose Company since 1973 and a member of the Eagle Hose Company in Pittston since 1980, currently serving as president. He also is secretary of Pittston Volunteer Firemen’s Relief. A respiratory therapy technician, he was hired as a firefighter by Pittston City in 1990. He retired in 2018 as assistant fire chief/fire inspector. Upon retirement, he was honored by the state fire commissioner and the Pennsylvania Career Fire Chiefs Association for his dedicated years of service. Williams received commendations for valor in 1998 from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and also from the Pennsylvania Senate for the rescue of an elderly woman from her gas-filled home.
He also has been employed in commercial building products sales and has been a real estate agent with Atlas Realty as since 1988.
He is a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1998, attaining Fourth Degree in 2003, and is member of the Friendly Sons since 1998, serving as president of in 2009 and currently as co-chairman of the scholarship committee.
The son of William and Susan Hudick Williams, he and his wife, Irene, have three daughters, Amy of Pittston; Jennifer Stone of Jenkins Twp., and Samantha of Hughestown, and one grandchild.
Man of the Year
The 2019 Man of the Year Award will be presented to Edward Hart.
Hart is a native of Pittston and is the son of the late Edward and Jean Morrow Hart. He graduated from Pittston Area High School and the University of Scranton and is a 30-year veteran of radio and broadcast television, concentrating in revenue development and management. He started his career at WARM and the then Magic 93. In 1988 ,at Q102 Radio, he was the youngest radio station manager in the country. He transitioned to television at WOLF-TV, which later became FOX56, and held various sales and management positions there before joining WNEP-TV and managing the local sales efforts to record levels.
Hart was president of the Friendly Sons during the organization’s 100th anniversary year, which was highlighted by Hart bringing in Vice President Joe Biden as principle speaker for the centennial celebration. He also is a lifelong member of Our Lady of the Eucharist Parish, Pittston, and a Fourth Degree Knight of the Knights of Columbus Assembly 948 and JFK Council 372.
He and his wife of 25 years, Natalie Amico Hart, have three children, Edward IV, Alexandra and Emma.
Edward Hart IV has been chosen grand marshal.
The son of Edward and Natalie Amico Hart, he is a senior neuroscience major at the University of Scranton. He graduated from Scranton Preparatory High School and was the recipient of the Diocese of Scranton Bishop’s Award. He also is a medical scribe and works in the emergency departments at Geisinger Wyoming Valley and Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre. In 2014, he served as grand marshal of the 100th anniversary Friendly Sons St. Patrick’s Day banquet. He also is a member of the Friendly Sons and Knights of Columbus Council 372.
Attorney Michael A. Falcone, a Pittston native, will be toastmaster for the dinner.
Falcone began his legal career in 2002 in New York City as an assistant district counsel in the legal division of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, now the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He served as a senior attorney and a designated national security and human rights attorney in the New York field office and in 2009 was promoted to deputy chief counsel of the Washington, D.C. field office. In 2013, he was promoted to chief of the Homeland Security Investigations Law Division at ICE Headquarters.
A 1999 graduate of Misericordia University and a 2002 honors graduate of Widener University School of Law, he is the son of Jean and Anthony Falcone of Pittston. He and his wife, Marni, have a 2-year-old son, Myles, and are expecting a second son.
Mark Yasenchak is general chairman of the banquet. He was born and reared in Ashley and attended St. Aloysius and Hanover Area Jr./Sr. High School. He earning a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from West Chester University. He has spent his entire professional career in the financial services industry and during the past 15 years has worked with many government and other non-profit institutions as an investment advisor for PFM Asset Management, earning the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2011.
He also is president of Cumberland Valley Softball Association, the largest youth softball organization in central Pennsylvania. The son of Michael Yasenchak, he resides with his family in Mechanicsburg.