Teresa Morris does not call herself an artist.
Still, once a week she teaches an arts class. Morris, of Nanuet, and three other members of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians go to nursing homes and teach an arts and crafts class.
“I never really did any art,” Morris said. “If there’s a holiday coming up we’ll do a project centered around that holiday. It’s just a way to keep the women a bit active and let them work their minds a bit.”
Morris has been involved in volunteer and charity work since moving to Rockland in 1992. For her efforts she is being honored at this year’s Rockland County St. Patrick’s Day Parade as the Ancient Order of Hibernians named her this year’s Hibernian of the Year.
“I was nervous and happy when I found out,” she said. “At first, I asked, ‘Why me?’ I’m a very behind the scenes person. It’s very nice that they thought of me.”
Morris grew up in Mohill in County Leitrim, Ireland, and eventually moved to London. After one of her daughters moved to Pearl River, Morris moved from the Bronx to Nanuet so she could be closer to her family. It was then she discovered the AOH.
“I went to my first meeting with Division 3 in Pearl River and everyone was so welcoming,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone up here and everyone was so nice.”
Since then Morris has remained involved in the AOH and LAOH in Rockland. She is a longtime member of the Rockland County Feis Committee, which organizes the yearly event that celebration of Irish culture through dance competitions, music and field games.
“I try to get involved with a lot of events that promote Irish culture and heritage,” she said.
Morris also does fundraising for various organizations and groups. She said she has worked with the LAOH to collect food for People to People around Christmas and spent a lot of time last year raising money and collecting goods for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Morris also said she and the LAOH have worked to raise money for local families who might be going through a rough time as well.
Morris has been honored a few other times at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as well. She was the Aide to the New York City Grand Marshall in 2009, the Ladies AOH. Division 3 Aide to the Rockland County Parade Grand Marshall in 2000, the Rockland County LAOH Aide in 2006 and Rockland County Feis Aide in 2008. Morris has also been involved with the parade most years since moving to Rockland, sometimes helping the parade leave the starting point at the Pfizer parking lot.
“It’s really well organized,” Morris said. “People keep coming back and each year the chairs are lined up along the streets earlier and earlier.”
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