SALEM — St. Patrick’s Day arrived a few days early at the Greater Salem Boys & Girls Club.
Everything and everyone was decked out in green as approximately 350 people turned out yesterday for the 24th annual John P. Ganley St. Patrick’s Day Memorial Award Luncheon.
The men wore green jackets and ties and the women wore green bead necklaces as they sat down to a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner and listened to bagpipes and Irish songs sung by Daniel Clark, known as “The Singing Trooper.”
Spirits were high as the crowd, including Gov. Maggie Hassan and numerous top state and local officials, recognized two men who selflessly gave of themselves.
“Thank you all for being here and recognizing the legacy of John Ganley,” Hassan said.
The annual benefit honors the former Salem town manager and police chief for his dedication to Salem and its residents. Ganley died in 1989, and the Chief John P. Ganley Community Service Award is awarded each year to a local humanitarian.
This year, the winner is the Rev. David Yasenka, pastor at Triumphant Cross Lutheran Church. Yasenka was honored for his efforts over the past 30 years to assist the less fortunate, including the recent establishment of a network to help the homeless.
Hassan praised Yasenka for his work.
“The homeless find shelter, the hungry find food, those who mourn find comfort, the lonely find friendship,” she said. “Thank you, David, for all you have done.”
Yasenka was modest as he accepted the award from Ganley’s daughter, Kathleen Ganley Donovan.
“I’m totally humbled that you chose me,” Yasenka said. “I feel I need to thank at least one of you at every table.”
Yasenka thanked his wife, Karen, and their three children. He also thanked Jesus and those in the community who have helped and inspired him over the years.