(By Ned Hoskin, Staff reporter)
TROY ‹ The commemorative tribute to former Trojan and Irish patriot James Connolly, scheduled for August 1986, will benefit two agencies that help people who are struggling, one in Troy and one in Ireland.
Commemorative committee chairman James Devine said the proceeds from the event will be directed to Joseph's House and Shelter, at the corner of Fourth and State streets, and Between, an organization based in County Cork in Ireland, which fosters human relations between people from Northern Ireland and independent Ireland.
Devine said Connolly lived in a time when there were two distinct classes of people: the haves and the have nots. He was a labor leader and civil rights activist and was killed by loyalist troops in Dublin after the Easter Rising of 1916.
"The focus of his life was to do things to bring about change so that people could live a better life," Devine said. The committee has taken this opportunity to "do something in his name for agencies focusing on offering struggling people the opportunity to survive.
"Both of these agencies serve those kinds of people, and we can't think of anything more fitting," he said.
"Both Between and Joseph's House provide a special kind of contact with their guests," according to Joseph's House Director Shelley Nortz, "a place of respite from what can be the very awful real world sometimes.
"It is very helpful to us to be identified as an organization worthy of this support," she said.
Joseph's House is an overnight shelter for the area's homeless population. On the tail end of an extensive expansion program, it is seeking a larger force of volunteers to help it reach more of the needy.
Nortz said its current volunteer corps will be working in the organizing efforts for the Connolly tribute, helping the committee while helping themselves.
Between is an agency which, for more than a decade, has drawn together Catholic and Protestant people in the North, and brought northern children to Cork in the South for holidays. The trips allow them to temporarily escape the violence and tension in Northern Ireland.
"Between is taking people away from the trouble, and at the same time allowing them to discover each other," Devine said. "They are breaking down some tremendous barriers."
The agency is entering a new phase of operation these days, seeking funds to establish a permanent facility in Cork where the holiday programs can be coordinated and the children can be housed.
Rev. John W. Morrow, leader of the Corrymeela Community in Belfast, praised Between and "the contribution which they have made to the healing of wounds and the building of bridges between people from all traditions in Ireland, North and South.
"... They work with people and allow realistic relationships to develop in a spirit of openness, honesty and love which transcends all labels," he wrote in a recommendation for support.
[ Troy ]