Brynn Gillis named 2020 Rohan award recipient

  • Brynn Gillis SUBMITTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/19/2019 5:11:16 PM

HOLYOKE — Following in the footsteps of her father, aunt and sister, city native Brynn Gillis has been named the recipient of the 2020 Thomas F. Rohan Award for her more than 10 years of work as a member of the St. Patrick’s Committee of Holyoke.

Gillis, 39, has served in numerous positions within the committee, which is the organization that puts on the annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day parade, scheduled next year for Sunday, March 22. Over the years, Gillis has been chairwoman of the Ambassador’s Breakfast and the awards dinner, served on the road race and music committees and on the organization’s board of directors.

“I was totally surprised and taken aback,” Gillis said of her reaction to receiving the Rohan award. “But I was really excited to receive this honor with my family watching.”

Gillis’ father, Ray Feyre, won the 1988 Rohan award; her aunt Mary Lynch won the 1996 award; and her sister, Hayley Dunn, won the award in 2018, according to the committee’s website.

Rohan award recipients are longstanding Parade Committee members who have made significant contributions to the overall success of the parade and the organization. The award was first established in 1957 to honor the parade’s first grand marshal, Thomas F. Rohan. 

“The parade committee is a huge part of my life,” Gillis said.

A 1998 graduate of Holyoke High School, Gillis played soccer at Clark University and has served on the board of directors for the Holyoke Youth Soccer League. In addition to continuing playing soccer and coaching her daughter, nieces and nephews, Gillis is also a juvenile probation officer at Holyoke District Court. 

Gillis and her husband, Chris Gillis, have two children, Kendall Susan, 4, and James Raymond, 1. 

“I have so many fun memories with the parade, putting in the work,” Gillis said. “I’m hoping I can infuse that vibe into my children.”

“It’s an honor to work with every single member of the parade committee,” she added.

Gillis will be honored along with other award recipients at the St. Patrick’s Committee Awards Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 1 at The Wherehouse? in Holyoke. 

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com. 
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