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Babylon Village commemorates Hibernians’ 75th anniversary with monument at Argyle Park

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Babylon Village celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Ancient Order of Hibernian’s St. Patrick’s Division 2 Wednesday evening with a new monument dedication at Argyle Park.

“It’s not marking our 75th anniversary but rather it’s marking our longevity in the village and giving back to the community,” said the group’s president Jim Killen in a telephone interview ahead of the evening.

Around 50 Hibernians and community members gathered at the park to take the boulder that bears the organization’s name and logo.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a nationwide men’s Irish Catholic fraternal organization born out of New York City in 1836. The Babylon division, as well as the division in Bay Shore, formed 110 years later to celebrate Irish culture and heritage and promote charitable endeavors on the island.

“We have something every year we can go back to on this date and celebrate another year of the Hibernians in south Babylon,” Killen said of the lakeside commemoration. “It’s a testament to our longevity and our community charity.”

‘what can we do to give back?’

Killen points to the Ancient Order of Hibernian’s charity work as the paramount focus of the organization. The group hosts several food, clothes blood drives year round.

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One former president of the organization who attended Wednesday’s event, Leo Murphy, said the group is an asset to the Village of Babylon and beyond.

“We do tremendous charity work for all the outreach programs in all the local parishes,” Murphy said. “We donate to the food pantries in Deer Park, Amityville, Lindenhurst, West Islip, Babylon and Bay Shore.”

Two weekends ago, the group hosted a 5K run. Next weekend is its annual breast cancer fundraiser.

“We raise monies and every single cent that we raise will go to breast cancer coalitions,” Killen said. “We’re going to have live bands all day long, we’ll have a breast cancer screening truck there. We have food trucks, there’s drinks, there’s games, there’s things you can bid on.”

When asked about recent charity work that he is particularly proud of, Killen recalled the groups efforts to feed hospital workers at the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April of 2020. He said the Sheppard’s pies — “Irish comfort food” as he described it — the group donated fed over 250 workers across five units at the Good Samaritan Hospital.

“You’re giving back during a really tough time when people need it the most,” Killen said.

The matter was also personal for the organization. Tom Collins, a member of the order who was slatted to be named “Hibernian of the year” at the then postponed St. Patrick’s Day Ball, passed away after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 77, according to Killen. “That made us say ‘it’s really hitting home now, what can we do to give back?'”