Photos: Rain can’t dampen Rockville Centre's spirit

Greg Schaefer leads memorable 2024 St. Patrick’s Day Celebration


Despite the downpour, hundreds of people braved the wet weather to line the streets of Rockville Centre on a soggy Saturday afternoon, marking the village’s 26th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“The Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Parade was definitely another memorable one this year,” remarked Jackie Kerr, president of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. “And while the rain certainly lowered attendance numbers this year, our diehard supporters were out in full force.”

Despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions, participants from various sectors of the community, including firefighters, elected officials, local businesses, and organizations celebrating Irish heritage, proudly donned green attire and joined in the festivities.

Parade Grand Marshal Greg Schaefer, president and CEO of the Better Home Health Care Agency, initiated the proceedings at noon. Schaefer, 49, has been at the helm of an agency serving the South Shore of Long Island since 1987, boasting a staff of over 500 employees. His leadership has established Better Home Health Care as a premier provider of home health care in its served counties.

A stalwart member of the community, Schaefer has served on the St. Patrick’s Day Committee for a decade and previously held the presidency of the Chamber of Commerce from 2014 to 2017. As the youngest grand marshal in parade history, he joins the esteemed ranks of past community figures such as Bishop John McGann, NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, and Mayor Francis X. Murray.

The parade, co-founded by Francis “Bud” Cosgrove and Joe Kelly in 1997, has evolved into one of the largest and most supported events of its kind outside of New York City. Affectionately known as “the parade that cares and shares,” the Rockville Centre St. Patrick’s Day Committee has contributed over $1.6 million to more than 75 charitable organizations worldwide.

Leading up to the parade, the committee hosts several fundraising events to benefit three distinct charitable organizations— one local, one national, and one Irish-focused. This year’s beneficiaries include Beyond the Badge, the Limb Kind Foundation, and the Crocus Cancer Support Centre in County Monaghan, Ireland, addressing critical issues such as mental health awareness among first responders, prosthetic care for children, and cancer survivor support.

“We’re very thankful for the collaboration with the Mayor’s office and the RVC Police Department, who helped ensure a safe event for all,” Kerr expressed gratitude. “And we’re especially grateful to the parade committee and the RVC community for always showing up—rain or shine.”