Kilcar native John Hegarty has spoken of his pride in being selected as the Irish Citizen of the Year in Indianapolis, USA.
The annual award is presented to those who exemplify the spirit of their Irish heritage through their continued service to the Indianapolis community, to family and other selfless acts that personify being Irish.
Hegarty follows in the footsteps of Irish Senators, Cardinals, and Governers who have received the honour from the Athletic Club Foundation over the decades.
Irish pub owners John and Ann McGinley, who also have Kilcar roots, won the honour in 2018 and Tim McGinley was selected in 2006.
Hegarty moved to the States in 1988 and worked in bar tending before studying to become teacher. He progressed in his career to become Principal of Scecina Memorial High School and now holds the title of Director of International Programs at Scecina. He also coached soccer at the school and received Indy Star Coach of the Year honors in 1997 and 2000.
“John is proud of his ministry at Scecina and the small part he has played in maintaining the Academic strength and the cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity of Scecina,” said a tribute from the Athletic Club Foundation.
“John is actively involved in local Irish organizations. He became a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians shortly after moving to Indianapolis and has been very involved ever since. He served as President of the Kevin Barry Division twice and also served a term as President of the Indiana State Ancient order. The Indy Irish Fest is a popular festival in Indianapolis which John has served many years on the organizing committee. Patty Hegarty, Johns’ wife, was on the original organizing committee of the Indy Irish Fest.”
“John was married in 1995 to Patricia Dugan, who is from Indianapolis, with family roots in County Galway. They have two sons Joseph and Eamon, both Scecina graduates. The Hegarty family are members of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. John has organized many large trips from Indianapolis to Ireland over the years.”
On his achievement, Hegarty said: “I am very proud and grateful for this award. The City and the people of Indianapolis have been very good to me.”