Kettle’s On: Loads of Room at the Table

The Irish are renowned for their hospitality! Syracuse’s 42nd St. Patrick’s Parade will set off on March 16th. This year’s theme celebrates that warm tradition, especially the Irish dedication to sharing what they have even if what they have to offer is humble. For 19 years, the Syracuse community has shown that same sense of hospitality by generously supporting the St. Patrick Hunger Project and collectively donating over 1 million meals to neighbors in need.

The St. Patrick’s Parade will celebrate this tradition of hospitality with three honorees: Grand Marshals Martin “Marty” Cahill and David Lynch, and Gael of the Year Lauren Kochian.

Co-Grand Marshal Martin “Marty” Cahill

The title Grand Marshal is given annually to Irish Americans of Syracuse who have made a significant contribution to the entire community. The Parade Committee is honored to recognize Marty Cahill as a 2024 Grand Marshal of the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade.

Martin “Marty” Cahill is the Chairperson of the Syracuse Irish Festival and has been involved with the Festival in one form or another for well over 20 years.  While he is the guy who has become the face of the Festival (the guy who has to wake up at 5:30am to be on TV), there is no way the Festival could be successful without the Superlative Executive Committee and the many, many volunteers that work hard to make the Festival the success that it has become!

Over the years Marty and the Committee have been proud to share our Irish Culture with Central New Yorkers by hosting such big name Irish Acts such as The High Kings, Gaelic Storm, Aoife Scott, Sharon Shannon and many others.  Many of the bands that have visited Central New York have been discovered through Marty’s extensive travels through Ireland over the years.  He enjoys spending a significant amount of time “Over the Pond” and visits Ireland two or three times a year to scout out new bands and enjoy a pint or two of Guinness!

Marty is also the Founder of the Syracuse Trad Fest which returns in 2024 in early March after a Covid hiatus.  He is also involved with the CNY Irish Festival in Deansboro, NY and has volunteered for many years helping with various charitable projects such as the Old Newsboys Christmas Drive, The St. Patrick’s Parade Hunger Project, and St. Patrick’s Parish Annual Raffle among many others.

While enjoying all the Irish things he is involved in, he also enjoys being one of the Founding Partners and is currently the Executive Vice President and CFO of Locey & Cahill, LLC, an independent employee benefits consulting firm.  Locey & Cahill has been around for almost 30 years and assists hundreds of municipal entities and school districts throughout New York State with the operation of their health insurance and workers compensation plans.  Locey & Cahill is a local company with its headquarters located in downtown Syracuse.

Family is very important to him.  Marty is incredibly proud of his only son, Sgt, Conor Cahill (USMC Reserves) who lives in Buffalo and is a recent graduate of Buffalo State and now works with Locey & Cahill and is studying to become an Actuary. His mother (Mary Lou) and father (Jack) along with his sister (Kathleen) all live very close to each other in Manlius.  His brother (Skinny) will be enjoying the festivities from above while sharing a cold Budweiser with all the various Saints and Sinners that have passed on.  Marty has four nephews, a number of Irish Musician “Children” along with an extended family and friends.

Marty is an avid Bills Fan (Go Bills!) but to date has not yet jumped onto a folding table in the Buffalo Bills Parking Lot.  He can usually be seen on Tuesday Afternoons (along with other days of the week) holding court at Kitty Hoynes or golfing at Woodcrest Golf Course.

Co-Grand Marshal David Lynch

The Parade Committee is honored to recognize Dave Lynch as a 2024 Grand Marshal of the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade.  Dave has spent just about his entire life in Syracuse. Born in Erie, PA he moved with his family west of Syracuse when he was two years old. He is fifth in line of six children born to John and Janet Weldon Lynch, originally from Andover and Lawrence, MA respectively.  He is a graduate of West Genesee High School and an alum of St. John Fisher.

Dave’s professional career spanned across various positions in sales, but most notably working in the golf industry for E-Z-GO. Always a natural in his endeavors due to his “gift of gab” and ability to bring people together. His love of his Irish heritage and drive to help others in our community propelled him to join the Syracuse Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) in 1993. For years he co-chaired the AOH golf tournament, formerly known as the Tony Rogers Memorial. In 2000, Dave was named the Syracuse Hibernian of the Year. He was instrumental in the merger of the Syracuse and Camillus divisions and the early development days of the Syracuse Hunger Project. He so loved the Syracuse Newsboys fundraising campaign every holiday season with Richie Walsh and team and encouraged participation from all AOH brothers. Dave served as President of the AOH twice; the latter from 2009-2012. He was nominated and elected as a lifetime member of the AOH. Dave was also a member of the Syracuse Irish Festival Committee alongside Marty Cahill and was point person for volunteer recruitment.

In 2014, Dave suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, affecting the left side of his body as well as his speech. While you may not see him regularly at Kitty Hoynes, his warm smile, friendly greeting, and positive attitude still remain as he continues to improve through his dedication to the rehabilitation process. Dave is a member of the YMCA and also a client of the Gebbie Clinic at Syracuse University.

Dave and his wife, Kim, are parishioners of St. Patrick and St. Brigid’s Church and reside on the westside of Syracuse.

The parade will begin at 12 p.m. on March 16, marching through downtown Syracuse along Nancy Duffy Lane (South Salina Street).

This year’s theme is accompanied by a poster by local artist Donny Seib. As a noted “Tipp Hill guy,” this past summer, he won First Place honors with his Oil on Canvas painting in the NYS Fair Art Competition.

Gael of the Year Lauren Kochian

The title of Gael of the Year is given annually to a member of the Syracuse community who demonstrates incredible dedication to the Syracuse community. The Parade Committee is honored to recognize Lauren Kochian at the 2024 Gael of the Year. 

Lauren Kochian is the president of the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST), a position she’s held since 2018. Prior to her appointment as president, Lauren championed the MOST Foundation and museum operations efforts as executive vice president. She has more than 20 years of fund development, marketing, and public relations experience. Lauren is the fourth president of the MOST and the second woman to head the museum. Under her leadership, the museum has seen significant growth and investment, dramatic increases in attendance, and new strategic partnerships with myriad organizations, including Micron. She has overseen the development of new dynamic exhibits and diverse programming that expands access to the MOST for all Central New Yorkers. Programming focuses primarily on introducing kids to STEM careers, especially underrepresented groups.

Lauren was recently awarded Non-Profit Executive of the Year by the Central New York Business Journal; and the recipient of the YWCA Spirit of Women Award.  Kochian serves on the board of the Arts & Culture Leadership Alliance and the advisory council of Golisano Children’s Hospital. She also volunteers for Eric Devendorf’s ED23 Foundation.

A Syracuse native, Lauren earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School and a master’s degree in media management from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School & Whitman School of Management. She has a 19-year-old ice hockey player, Jonas, in the USPHL and a 16-year-old field hockey player, Helena, who’s a sophomore at ES-M. Being a hockey mom is her favorite role of all.