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Quietly, another St. Pat's breakfast helps the needy

A St. Patrick's Day breakfast at C.F. Donovan's restaurant on Savin Hill Ave. last Saturday raised more than $10,000 for the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta food pantry. Shown above, l-r, are Arthur Donovan, proprietor of C.F. Donovan's restaurant, Dr. Larry Ronan, Sr. Linda of Blessed Mother Teresa Parish, Pattie Brett, Jim Brett and Elle McDermott. Photo by Harry Brett

Last Saturday morning at C.F. Donovan's they cooked up a breakfast that had all the ingredients you can't help but love. Well, there are some who may not have enjoyed what was served. I guess you'd have to be from Dorchester, or an OFDer, have a little Irish in you (doesn't everybody?), like politics, delight in seeing old and new friends, like to be entertained and educated by some serious talent and, most importantly, like to help some less-fortunate folks.

If you see any of yourself there, or just want to have a good "Irish" time, you should put the Dorchester St. Patrick's Day Breakfast on your calendar for next year, God spare us all.

A few years ago, Jim and Pattie Brett, Larry Ronan, and Roger Croke, four Dorchester neighbors, thought it would be a good idea to have a little holiday gathering in the neighborhood. So they did a little strategic planning, and they gathered the usual suspect in most conspiracies of Dorchester Irish philanthropy, Arthur Donovan. Don't ya love conspiracies? I do. And they were off.

So last year, the first Dorchester St. Patrick's Day Breakfast went off without a hitch. (They did make one major mistake, asking a lousy videographer to record the event. She never gave them any of the footage, but she assures me she has the tapes and it's just painful to edit two hours of poorly shot video). The Blessed Mother Teresa Food Pantry received a generous donation, the women cleaned up, and the boys drank Guinness stout. Who says all is not well with the world?

Which brings us to last Saturday.

Dick Flavin emceed the second annual as masterfully as he emceed the first. Under Dick's name on his business card it says "Writer, Speaker, All Around Good Guy" and from my two encounters with him it seems truer words have never been written.

There were two main courses this year; Steve Sweeney made us laugh and Kevin Cullen of the Globe made us think. Pretty good for a first course.

But I had already been doing a lot of thinking as I was sitting down to a full breakfast plate - about the people in our neighborhood who need to use the food pantry. Until last year, I didn't even know we had a food pantry in the vicinity. But the organizers of the breakfast did.

Last year they handed the pantry $8,000 and this year they will give $10,000. As a result, some of our neighbors who haven't sat down to breakfast, lunch, or supper plates in a long time will do so. St. Patrick, the most famous illegal alien in Ireland, would be pleased.

The second course was a new addition this year: the Dorchester All-Star Awards. There will be two named each year. One will be a current resident of Dorchester and one will be an OFDer.

Joanne Sullivan, who works tirelessly cleaning up Dorchester Avenue from Burger King to Columbia Road on behalf of the Boston Public Works Department, was this year's recipient of the residential All-Star Award. They could not have found a more dedicated public servant. Just walk down the part of the avenue that is on her watch and look for trash. When you don't see any, it's because she has been there.

Don Rodman, the owner of several car dealerships, took home the All-Star Award for never forgetting the neighborhood he grew up in, and, most especially, its children. Mr. Rodman and the Rodman Foundation recently found out that St. Peter's needed a van. He had one delivered. No press release, no nothing, just the keys and the title. I don't have enough space to give you even a partial list of the quiet, life-changing acts of generosity Mr. Rodman is responsible for. After Saturday's breakfast, I was sorry my last car purchase had been from someone else.

So Joanne and Don are the first two official members of The Dorchester Hall of Fame. Can ya stand it? We're going to have a Dorchester Hall of Fame?

I have five more nominations for the hall: Roger Croke, Larry Ronan, Arthur Donovan, and Jim and Pattie Brett. See you next year, God spare us.

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