Madigan Muses: Young Irish Americans
by Marilyn Madigan
Every year the Irish Echo recognizes individuals with the Irish 40 Under 40 Award. This year, iIrish would like to tell you about three individuals that live in areas served by our paper.
In looking for individuals to receive this award, the Irish Echo looks at six areas of criteria: innovation, community, achievement, passing the flame (promoting Irish Culture), networking and partnering. If you visit the Irish Echo website you can view all the nominees. I would like to highlight three that live in the Midwest.
Bridget is the daughter of Dan and the late Sheila Harrison, granddaughter of the late Angela Kerrigan and niece of the late Roger Weist. Her family reside in Lakewood and are active members of the Cleveland Irish Community, in particular the Ancient Order of Hibernians Boland Berry Division and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Our Lady of the Rosary Division.
Her grandmother, Angela Kerrigan, was honored by the United Irish Societies as a the 1989 Irish Mother of the Year. All the Kerrigan and Weist families were proud to join the Irish Community in following her Uncle Roger Weist as he lead the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as the 2017 Grand Marshal.
Btidget herself states, ”My connection to my heritage has largely been the influence of my Grandma and Uncle Roger. Both Roger and my Grams were highly engaged in the Irish community in Cleveland and shared their passion with me. This led to seeing the intersection of international and local politics; history with music and storytelling; faith and action within our community and abroad.
“They had me tag along to experiences like seeing George Mitchell discuss the signing of the Good Friday Agreement; seeing the original members of The Chieftains in concert, volunteering at Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, attending Hibernian meetings, playing (poorly) at Irish music sessions at the West Side Irish American Club – to name a few.”
Bridget had the opportunity to study in Dublin for a summer and is in the process of planning a cousins’ trip to Ireland in 2024. She is a proud graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University and has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She attended Master Courses in Applied Politics at University of Akron.
Her professional career is very impressive. She served as Assistant Policy Director for Health and Human Services in the Office of Governor Mike De Wine. She joined United Healthcare and is the Director of Policy for the Central Region of the United States, which serves over seven million individuals in thirty-one states that qualify for Medicaid. She resides in Columbus but her heart will always be in Cleveland.
William is the son of Bill and Laura (née D’Alessandro) O’Gorman. He is very proud of his Italian and Irish heritage and his Catholic faith, belonging to St. Charles Borromeo Parish. In speaking with Will, he indicated how special both his Irish and Italian grandparents were to him, and offered this quote from Edmund Burke, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.”
Will is blessed that his paternal grandfather wrote his memoirs of his childhood in Ireland and his time coming to America, titled, As Far as Turn Back. His grandfather had a great impact on embracing his Irish heritage.
In the bio submitted to the Irish Echo, Will stated, “His grandparents John and Eileen Kelliher O’Gorman came to the US from County Kerry in the 1940s. They’ve always instilled in their children and grandchildren a curiosity, love, and respect for their Irish heritage.”
Will joined the Padraic Pearse Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians while living in the Columbus area. Coming back to the Cleveland area, he became active in the sports scene as a member of the GAA Cleveland St. Pats-St. Jarlath’s Gaelic Football Team, and a member of the Cleveland Rovers Rugby Football Club, “ I love immersing myself in the culture in which my family is rooted.”
He attended Walsh University, studying Government and Foreign Affairs, History, and Peace Studies. His leadership abilities were recognized as he served as the Student Body President and an officer in Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society.
In his professional career, he worked as a legislative aide in the Ohio Senate, legislative liaison for Mike DeWine in the office of the Ohio Attorney. When DeWine was elected Governor, Will was appointed Deputy Director at the Ohio Department of Transportation. He currently is the Director of Business Development at American Structurepoint, a civil engineering firm.
Maura is my sister Hibernian from Indianapolis. She is the oldest of five children to Joe and Kathleen Flynn. She attended St. Matthew Catholic School, and Bishop Chatard High School. While a student at Bishop Chatard, she found her first career passion as an Athletic Trainer. She received her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Purdue University.
During her career as a Licensed and Certified Athletic Trainer, she also as a worked at Ascension St. Vincent, Carmel Clay Middle School and High School. Maura was honored to worked as an athletic trainer with the USA Diving Team. During her time as an Athletic Trainer, Maura was able to help countless athletes achieve success and travel to many different countries with the USA Diving Team.
Maura graduated Magna Cum Laude in Nursing from Marian University. She works at Ascension St. Vincent on a medical/surgical and orthopedic floor. She worked on a Covid Unit during the pandemic, taking care of and comforting the severely sick and dying patients. Maura looks back on the experience that led to life lessons she will never forget.
“The pandemic taught me to trust in God and try and enjoy every day while being grateful for the loved ones in my life. The pandemic also strengthened my faith in God and in my calling to serve Him by caring for others.”
Her late uncle, Father Glenn O’Connor, co-founded Seeds of Hope, an organization that Maura volunteers with. “Seeds of Hope is a recovery house and program for women with drug and alcohol addiction.”
Maura is an active member in the LAOH Our Lady of Knock Division 1. Her Hibernian Sisters are proud of all her accomplishments, and as the National President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, I am proud of Maura being recognizes by the Irish Echo, along with two other Sister Hibernians: Brianna Curran from Pennsylvania, and Maggie Brogan from New York.
*Marilyn Madigan is the National President of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and a Deputy Director of the United Irish Societies of Cleveland. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. John College and retired from Nursing at University Hospitals of Cleveland.