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Friends Make Montauk School Supe Grand Marshal

Jack Perna will lead the 2013 Montauk Friends of Erin St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 17.

It's official: Jack Perna has been named the 51st grand marshal of the Montauk Friends of Erin St. Patrick's Day Parade. 

Joseph Bloecker, the acting president of the organization that throws Montauk's biggest bash, which draws 30,000 people, said, "It was a vote by unanimous decision." 

Perna, the Montauk School principal and superintendent, also grew up in the hamlet. 

So, why Perna for the 2013 parade?

"Why not? Friends of Erin charity work is aimed at Montauk youth. Who has done more for Montauk kids than Jack Perna?" Bloecker said. "He is the salt of the earth of Montauk."

Perna started out as a teacher at the Montauk School, then became its principal and its superintendent. "How many administrators on Long Island can say they've spent their whole career in one school?" Bloecker said.

By email on Friday morning, Perna said he was humbled to be recognized twice — First by the Montauk Historical Society, which asked that he "light" the Lighthouse at Christmas, and now the Montauk Friends of Erin. "I am truly honored and blessed to live and work in this community," he said.

This year, the parade is being held on St. Patrick's Day (it's usually held on the Sunday after), March 17, kicking off at 11:30 a.m.

Several fundraisers and community events are held leading up to the parade. 

The 10th annual Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner is set for The Point Bar & Grill in Montauk on March 9,  from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person, $10 for children. Todd the Guitar Guy will perform.

Perna will be honored at the grand marshal luncheon, and also presented with his parade sash, top hat and shillelagh. The luncheon is slated for March 15 at Gurney's Inn in Montauk, starting at noon. Tickets are $50. See the website for more information.

Lastly, the gala cocktail party is scheduled for March 16 at Gurney's Inn from 4 to 8 p.m. Billy and the Barfights will perform, and there is a buffet and open bar. Tickets are $60 per person in advance, and available for purchase at Becker's Home Center in Montauk, the Montauk Chamber of Commerce or at Atlantic Wines & Liquors in Amagansett. Tickets are $75 at the door.

Happy to see Jack Perna named Grand Marshal? Congratulate Mr. Perna in the comments below. 

Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Via East Hampton Patch's Facebook page, Melissa Mahoney said, "well deserved!!"
Everyone January 18, 2013 at 01:26 PM
What a great high note for him to retire on! Good luck Jack, a great time to be moving on and getting out!
Sharon Marie Buckler January 18, 2013 at 01:34 PM
That is wonderful!
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Also on Facebook, Julie Akkala said, "Congrats Mr. Jack Perna. A man worthy of the title of Grand Marshall. Well deserved my friend!"
Mary S. Dugan January 18, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Good for you!!! Have a great time.
Terriann Perna Ferraro January 18, 2013 at 04:20 PM
he is not retiring!
PJ Delia January 18, 2013 at 04:58 PM
I remember when Jack was a student teacher at St. Therese, encouraging us to write about our experiences. He's always been good for the kids of Montauk.
Montauk Ghost January 18, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Very happy to hear you are retiring. Time to enjoy life while you can!! Enjoy the parade.
CHARLIE KENNY January 18, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Congratulations Jack to being selected for the honor of serving Montauk as the 2013 Grand Marshal.It is a tribute for all you do in the community and all the families you have helped.Good Luck and all the best.
Mickey Valcich January 19, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Congratulations Mr Perna I don't mind you stealing my thunder your friend and last years Grand Marshal Mickey Valcich
Chris Tracey January 19, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Congratulations to my friend Jack-The honor could not go to a more deserving person.I first met Jack in the winter of 1983. We were both working as vacation recreation coordinators at the Montauk School.I was just starting my 30 year educational career, which ended late last January as elementary principal at John Marshall School in E.H.-Along the way, there were many times, especially during the 21 years spent in school administration, when I would call Jack for advice, input,or just to get a laugh..He was always positive, tremendously student centered, educationally knowledgeable, humble and had a great personality.At a time when New York school superintendents' tenure averages about 2.6 years, Jack is a throwback to a simplier and less bureaucratic era in education, when superintendents' placed students number one,attended athletic and school productions,and were involved in outside community events.There are still some good superintendents around, but not many.East Hampton, has most recently, hired a very good superintendent in Rich Burns...As Cherly Bloecker said'Jack is salt of the earth Montauk." I would add ,Jack is a 'salt of the earth man" The Montauk school and community has been blessed by his selfless hard work for generations of its students.Congratulations on this lofty honor Jack.. Well earned and deserved. Chris

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