No. Westchester-Putnam St. Patrick's Day Parade

2018 Grand Marshal


Irish blood runs thick through Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell’s veins with both of her parents being of Irish decent.

Her maternal grandmother Mary Agnes O’Neill was from Co. Waterford, Ireland. Her paternal great grandmother Julianne O’Neill, who MaryEllen refers to as Nanny, was from the Co. Cork, Ireland.

Julianne was an inspiration in MaryEllen’s life.  She was the oldest of 11 children. When she was 14 years old her parents sent her to live with the Hogan family in the United States because of the famine in Ireland. She did not get to return to Ireland until she was in her 60s.

Julianne married Jack O’Brien and they had five children. They had nothing, but they had a strong back, willingness to work, faith, family and they loved America!

As a child, MaryEllen remembers “Nanny” having the grandchildren packing up their old clothes, toys and books to send to their cousins in Ireland. She also remembers her great grandmother cherishing a framed tapestry of an Irish cottage by the sea alongside the Scared Heart of Jesus.

Born in Yonkers to Muriel Edith (nee Helwig) and Ronald Hicks, MaryEllen is the eldest of four children. She was raised in Carmel with her siblings Michelle, Brian and Laura. Wanting to give her children—Hope and David, the same type of upbringing, she bought her childhood home and raised her children there.

A Roman Catholic, MaryEllen has been a congregant at St. James the Apostle Church for more than 50 years.

In 1995, MaryEllen co-founded the Carmel Sports Association. She also became an active member of the Hamlet of Carmel Civic Association, the Carmel Industrial Development Agency and Putnam Economic Development Council. MaryEllen sat on the Executive Board for the Gold Star Mothers statue in Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park as well. She is also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Stephen P. Driscoll Memorial Lodge #704.

Committed to Veterans and First Responders—career and volunteer, MaryEllen believes in protecting and honoring those who put their lives on the line for the safety of others. She has also championed a person’s right to privacy.  MaryEllen initiated the Row of Honor display of flags on the shores of Lake Gleneida to recognize our Veterans and their families and to honor our Nation’s flag. She is proud to work alongside the Putnam County 9/11 Memorial Committee, as County Executive, for the heroes’ memorial at Spain Cornerstone Park as well. MaryEllen supports the FDNY 343 Riders who honor and remember the 343 members of the FDNY who perished in the World Trade Center on Sept 11th, 2001 and raise funds to help support severely injured veterans who have served in the Armed Forces.

MaryEllen was named an Honorary Veteran by the Putnam County Joint Veterans Council in 2007, for her patriotism and advocacy for Veterans services. Before his death in July 2016, James O’Neill named MaryEllen an honorary member of the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of the Lakes Council 6318, to which she was greatly honored.

MaryEllen is currently serving her second term as Putnam County Executive. Through her five years on the Putnam County Legislature and the past six years as County Executive, she has questioned the status quo while focusing on balancing her fiscal and social responsibilities to the people of Putnam County.

Being the 2018 Grand Marshal of the Putnam-Northern Westchester St. Patrick’s Parade is truly an honor for MaryEllen. She would like to thank the WestPut Setanta Gaelic Football Club for nominating her. Immigrants come to the United States for a better life, just like her family did. It is MaryEllen’s mission to move Putnam County in a positive direction, so a better life may be had for the generations to come. 

An Irish blessing to you all: May you have warm words on a cold evening, A full moon on a dark night, And the road downhill all the way to your door.

Northern Westchester-Putnam St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee
960 Route 6, Suite 230
Mahopac, New York 10541


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