From press materials furnished by Belfer Communications
In an announcement made on Monday morning, the organizers of the 2014 Rumson St. Patricks Day Parade confirmed that Brigadier General Peter M. Dawkins, USA (Ret.) will be serving as Grand Marshal for the second annual event, scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday, March 9.
It’s a new feather in the cap of the longtime Rumson resident — a Heisman Trophy winner, decorated military commander, Citigroup vice chairman, and 1988 Republican candidate for one of the Garden State’s U.S. Senate seats. It’s also a not-insignificant honor in a career that’s seen the 1959 West Point grad and Rhodes Scholar serve with distinction on college gridirons and foreign battlefields; banking industry boardrooms and the worlds of academia, public policy and philanthropy.
Dawkins will be among the luminaries in attendance — joining Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl and parade MC JoAnn Pileggi of FOX 5 and My 9 News — during a press conference luncheon slated for January 17 at local landmark Murphy’s Tavern. The fabled watering hole and former speakeasy will also be the setting for the first of several scheduled fundraiser events, an afternoon of music, food and socializing that happens on Saturday, January 18.
As the parade’s Grand Marshal, the Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Medal holder — an officer in the Korean conflict who made the cover of Life magazine in 1966 as a battalion commander in Vietnam — will oversee a ceremonial phalanx that boasts eight bagpipe brigades, numerous floats, marching bands from area high schools, Irish Step Dancers, antique and classic cars, veterans’ groups, scouting organizations, non-profit clubs and organizations, novelty acts, area businesses and civic groups. Dawkins succeeds another celebrated Rumsonite — restaurateur, running coach, musician and humanitarian Tim McLoone, who served as Grand Marshal for the parade’s inaugural edition in March of 2013.
The man cited by Time as one the “Top 50 Leaders in the U.S.” in 1963, and as “the most accomplished Heisman winner ever” made hyperlocal headlines here on redbankgreen in the early years of this decade — keyed to a border skirmish with neighboring mansionaire Mickey Gooch, and the subsequent placing of his 20,000 square foot Navesink River estate on the market for a local record asking price of $29.9 million (the house would eventually sell for $12 million in 2011, to hedge fund founder and Derby horseman George Hall). Dawkins and Judith, his wife of 50 years, went on to purchase a more modest home in the borough, as reported here in February of 2012.
Running between the hours of 1 to 5 pm, the January 18 public-welcome fundraiser at Murphy’s kicks off a campaign designed “not only help to subsidize parade costs, but enable the parade to disperse donations to various local charities.” An admission charge of $10 offers a complimentary buffet, live irish music, and the promise of surprise guests. Additional events will be announced in upcoming weeks, keyed to the event whose nonprofit organizing committee states as its mission “to present a safe, fun-filled annual parade for the entire family by raising awareness and appreciation of the many contributions the Irish-American community has made to our American culture, business, and government.”