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Merrimack Valley

February 26, 2014

Hibernians to honor locals for community service

LAWRENCE — Three Irishmen who have dedicated their lives to making Greater Lawrence a better place to live by sharing of their time, talent and treasure will be honored in the following weeks.

On March 8, The Rev. James T. O’Reilly OSA Division 8 Ancient Order of Hibernians will recognize Jimmy Jacobs as the 2014 Irishman of the Year and the Rev. Bill Waters with the Richard Cardinal Cushing Award. The event will be held at Reliefs’ In, 1 Market St.

A week later on March 14 during the annual Irish luncheon John Cuddy will receive the Hon. John E. Fenton Award.

“We’re delighted that all three accepted. They are the representation of three great men,” said Hibernian president William Sullivan.

Established in 1964, the Irishman of the Year Award is the highest award bestowed on a local Hibernian.

“I was so surprised,” said Jacobs upon learning about the award. “I have to pinch myself because I can’t believe it’s true.”

Jacobs has been a member of Division 8 since the 1990s. He is the Superintendent Director of St. Mary-Immaculate Conception Cemetery, where he has worked for nearly 40 years.

“I am thrilled about being named Irishman of the year,” Jacobs said. “You get inspired by the people, so you follow their example, not looking for recognition. It makes you feel better to help other people.”

The recognition reminds him of the last scene from the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” when Clarence writes in his book, “No man is a failure who has friends.

“That’s what it means to me,” he said.

Born and raised in Lawrence, Jacobs is an active member of St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus; a member of the Massachusetts Cemetery Association, where he served as president; as well as the New England and the National Cemetery Associations.

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