The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in Huntington lost a dear friend this past January. Gerard Molloy, 51, of Seaford died after a quick bout with pancreatic cancer, leaving behind his beloved wife Francine and two high school-aged daughters Meghan and Erin.
The Hibernians were preparing to celebrate the 85th Huntington St. Patrick’s parade when the shocking news rocked the division. Plans were quickly set in place to honor Molloy. Grand Marshal Ball chairman Colin Brady had a commemorative poster board created for the 250-plus dinner and dance attendees to see on March 8. He also began the evening with a moving tribute. Molloy’s eldest daughter Meghan had been selected as one of the parade’s Colleens. The Colleens are always the daughter of a member who is graduating high school and seeking higher education. In a wonderful tradition, each is presented with a scholarship to help with that goal.
That weekend when the division marched down the streets of Huntington, the members wore black arm bands with a green emerald ribbon in memory of Molloy. Meghan could be seen popping out the top of a Jeep wearing her dad’s Irish cap while smiling and waving to the people lining the streets. She knew her dad was looking down at her proudly.
The AOH’s motto is friendship, unity and Christian charity. Throughout the years, the members have worked hard to put food on the table of the needy and raise funds for students who receive special education at high schools within Huntington Township. Now was a time to look inward and take care of the family of a fallen brother.
Toward that end, a fundraising Chili Cook-off event was created to raise funds, a portion of which would go toward an educational endowment as Meghan was soon to head off to Lock Haven University.
Vice President John Broderick said, “hosting a cook-off in Gerard’s honor was a no brainer. It perfectly pairs with our fond memories of him, a well-respected executive pastry chef who loved to dabble in all aspects of cooking.
The Gerard M. Molloy Memorial Chili Cook-off was held on June 29 at American Legion Post 360 in Halesite. The hall was packed as 15 contestants showcased their chili prowess. Chefs from the Long Island chapter of the American Culinary Federation were on hand to be judges. Brian Rogers, Deb Stolba and Steve Fox walked away as first-, second- and third-place winners, respectively. Bryan Kelly and Elaine Dougherty received People’s Choice awards. But most important, many laughs were shared as people tasted delicious chili and took chances on great raffle items and a 50/50.
The day ended on a profound note when the winner of 50/50 raffle walked up to Francine and handed her the winnings. She too had lost her husband to cancer at a young age.