Alabama trip was brilliant – Mayor
STOKES MET WITH KEY BUSINESS LEADERS
MAYOR of Greystones Stephen Stokes recently returned from Huntsville, Alabama where he served as Grand Marshal for the 2014 Huntsville St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Mayor Stokes, who paid his own way, thanked the people of Alabama and in particular the Irish Society of North Alabama for their warm welcome.
Huntsville Metropolitan Area is larger than Cork.
‘ The reception I received was fantastic. I have never experienced anything like it. It was a great honour to serve as Grand Marshal,’ said the mayor.
Mayor Stokes met hundreds of people, dozens of community groups, Mayor Troy Trulock (Madison), Mayor Tommy Battle (Huntsville), and conducted three television interviews.
'I was particularly pleased to meet the Alabama Secretary of Commerce, and many key business leaders. I am pleased to confirm that two companies are now actively looking at Ireland for investment. At least one will look at Greystones IDA site.'
Mayor Stokes added there were several lighter moments. 'I did a Q&A with a 3rd grade class. They asked me twice if I was a leprechaun. Huntsville Rugby Club also insisted on stopping the parade so I could throw in a rugby ball for an impromptu street lineout.'
Mayor Stokes spent significant time with Sonnie Hereford who ran the Huntsville St. Patrick's Parade for 16 years. Mr. Hereford made history as the first African American to be admitted to the Alabama public school system. ‘Sonnie Hereford is an inspiration to integration efforts, and a great honourary Irishman.'
Greystones Mayor Stephen Stokes (right) with Tommy Battle, Mayor of Huntsville, Alabama.