Luck of the Irish

Naugatuck, Prospect honor Irish Mayors for the Day

Barbara Mallane pins a corsage on her husband Roy Mallane Monday in the church hall of St. Francis Church in Naugatuck. Roy Mallane was honored as Naugatuck’s Irish Mayor for the Day. –LUKE MARSHALL

Barbara Mallane pins a corsage on her husband Roy Mallane Monday in the church hall of St. Francis Church in Naugatuck. Roy Mallane was honored as Naugatuck’s Irish Mayor for the Day. –LUKE MARSHALL

On a day when green is the color of choice, Naugatuck and Prospect celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by honoring Irish Mayors for the Day.

“The Irish-American experience is just an amazing part of our history in this country and this borough,” Naugatuck Mayor Robert Mezzo said in the halls of St. Francis Church. “Waves of Irish immigrants came to this country with hopes and dreams and, over the course of the better part of two centuries, rose to the highest levels of our government, of our sciences, of entertainment, of athletics, of business. It’s been truly an amazing journey, but it’s embodied by so many millions of Irish-Americans who have lived amazing lives like Mr. Mallane here.”

Mezzo turned over his seat, symbolically, for the day to Roy Mallane, 77, Naugatuck’s Irish Mayor for the Day.

Mallane has spent much of his life in the service of others. Following a pro baseball career with the former New York Giants, Mallane spent two years in the Army and later in life served 20 years as a firefighter for the Naugatuck Fire Department.

“In a culture that talks about heroes and talks about celebrities, if you have to model your life on someone have a conversation today with Mr. Mallane, a man who embodies what it means to be a good citizen and a good person,” Mezzo said.

Mallane was honored by the Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians.

“Roy is a good example of a good Irish family, having the whole clan here today. We’re very pleased to have you as our Irish Mayor for the Day,” said John Ford, a longtime friend of Mallane and member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Mallane told those gathered that he was pleased to receive and share the honor.

“I’m proud to be standing here sharing my Irish heritage with family and friends. Thank you for everybody being here. I really appreciate it,” Mallane said.

Thirty years ago his mother, Julia Mallane, was named Irish Mayor of the Day.

“I never thought I would be standing here. Thank you all,” Mallane said.

As the festivities were getting into full swing in Naugatuck, Prospect resident Peter Hughes was walking into Prospect Town Hall for his own coronation.

Catherine Hughes pins a corsage on her husband Peter Hughes Monday morning in the mayor’s office in Prospect Town Hall. Peter Hughes was honored as Prospect’s Irish Mayor for the Day. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Catherine Hughes pins a corsage on her husband Peter Hughes Monday morning in the mayor’s office in Prospect Town Hall. Peter Hughes was honored as Prospect’s Irish Mayor for the Day. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

The sound of bagpipes announced Hughes’ arrival and family members lined the stairs to greet Prospect’s 2014 Irish Mayor for the Day.

Hughes, 72, owner of Hughes Insurance Agency in Prospect, was ushered into the mayor’s office where got the chance to take in the view from behind the mayor’s desk and pose for pictures with his family.

“It makes me happy to see the smile on my husband’s face,” said Catherine Hughes, the Prospect first lady for the day.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said Hughes, who is 100 percent Irish, has been in the back of his mind for the honor for some time.

“He’s been a friend for a long time,” Chatfield said.

After getting a chance to settle in, Hughes was sworn into office by Prospect Town Clerk Carrie Anderson. Then it was off for a mayoral tour around town ending at the Prospect Senior Center for a celebration.

As Hughes was preparing for his tour, he said it’s a real pleasure to have been chosen Irish Mayor for the Day.

Asked if he had any mayoral decrees for the day, Hughes smiled and said, “I tried to decree that we would have sun today. I just wish the people of Prospect a very prosperous year.”

Luke Marshall contributed to this article.

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