Delaney Named Grand Marshal Of City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
WILKES-BARRE — Fire Chief Jay Delaney has marched in nearly all of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parades in the 36 years he’s been with the fire department. This year, he’ll lead the festive downtown procession.
Mayor Tony George on Monday announced that Delaney will be grand marshal for the city’s 38th annual celebration, which is slated to step off at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11, from the intersection of South and South Main streets.
The parade will travel north down South Main Street, around Public Square, where Delaney and other dignitaries will enter the reviewing stand to see the participants that follow them, and will end at North Main and Union streets.
George said he’s known Delaney since he started with the fire department as a paramedic in 1981. The mayor noted Delaney has held every rank in the department and served as chief under three mayors including himself.
The mayor also rattled off some of Delaney’s honors and experience in public service, such as his appointment to the state Game Commission in 2007 by then Gov. Ed Rendell, his appointment to the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation in 2016 by Gov. Tom Wolf, and his election to president of the Pennsylvania Career Fire Chiefs Association by his peers in 2017.
The chief also serves on the Luzerne County Community College EMS Program Advisory Board.
The mayor noted that Delaney’s wife, Val, was present for the announcement at City Hall along with their daughter Megan Patterson and Megan’s children, Brennan, 4, and Delaney, 1.
“And that’s her real name — her name’s Delaney Patterson,” George noted, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“It’s certainly an honor and a privilege to be the grand marshal,” Delaney, 59, of the Miners Mills section of the city, said after thanking George.
“The Delaney family has a long history of being very proud of our Irish heritage, and we wear green 365 days of the year,” Delaney said, noting he’s proud of his family.
“And I think that’s what says it all. It’s not about me, it’s about my family being able to use our Delaney name to be part of the parade this year, so I’m thankful for that,” Delaney said.
When George opened the floor to questions, Police Chief Marcella Lendacky asked Delaney if he’ll be wearing green for the parade.
“As you know, I don’t alter from my uniform. But on St. Patrick’s Day, since it’s around our holiday, one of our high holy days, I will change and wear something green,” said Delaney, who sported a shamrock tie with his usual white shirt and uniform jacket for the announcement.
“It is certainly an honor. I love Wilkes-Barre and what we stand for,” Delaney said. “And that day, everyone’s Irish and everyone’s smiling on St. Patrick’s Day during the parade.”
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WILKES-BARRE FIRE CHIEF JAY DELANEY
Family: Born in Avoca, he is the son of James Jay Sr. and Dorothy Delaney. He and the former Valerie Sakaduski will celebrate 36 years of marriage later this month. They have three children, Sarah, Jamie and Megan; and seven grandchildren, JJ, Brennan, Sadie, Hadley, Delaney, Jaxan and Ainsley.
Responsibilities: He leads the city fire department, comprised of 78 full-time firefighters and paramedics, and oversees the department’s $11 million budget. He is also emergency management coordinator for the city.
Awards: American Red Cross Lifesaving Award of Merit, Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center Outstanding Provider of the Year, an award from former mayor Tom McGroarty for saving the life of a city resident.
Memberships: International Association of Fire Chiefs, National Fire Protection Association, Upper Pittston Sportsmen Club, Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church.
GET YOUR GREEN ON
Participant spots and sponsorships for the Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Day Parade are still available. Sponsor applications are due by Feb. 26. Participant applications are due by March 5. Registration forms can be found online at www.wilkes-barre.city/special-events. For more information, contact Special Events Coordinator Patty Hughes at 570-208-4149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.