It was the evening before the Army-Navy Game and Scannicchio’s Italian Restaurant was buzzing with members of The Millay Club, and representatives of the United States Marine Corps, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. EOM President Edward J. (Ed) McBride, Class of 1955, was there to be honored as Man of the Year. With all the love and support of his family and friends, each and every one came together to recognize him for his outstanding contributions and leadership in the community.
The Millay Club, the original Alumni Association of Southeast Catholic High School, followed by Bishop Neumann High School, St. John Neumann High School and now in its fourth incarnation, Sts. John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School, has a focus on raising money for scholarships and McBride, a former president and now a vice-president, served as a Co-Chairman of The Millay Club’s Capital Campaign Committee which raised more than one million dollars in scholarships.
I ask William J. (Billy) Latta, Class of 1970, the chairman of the event and board member of the club about the history of this award. With a poignant note in his voice he begins.
“Seven years ago, we lost a great member, Jimmy”Daddy Wags” Wagner. Wags was just gung-ho on veterans. When he graduated from Neumann in 1963 he had a full baseball scholarship, but he wanted to serve his country and fight in Viet Nam.
Every year on, the night before the Army-Navy Game, he would have a big party at his bar, Cookies Tavern. We wanted to remember him in a special way and The Millay Club got together and decided to give an award in his name to someone who epitomized what Wags stood for— home, neighborhood and active in veteran’s affairs.”
McBride’s son, Ed McBride Jr., who is Gov. Corzine’s Chief of Staff, is “incredibly proud” of his father and credits him and the EOM for the success he enjoys in life. While his father is out of earshot the younger McBride gives me a few family secrets. “I’m at the point in my life where my dad and I have more occasions to talk. When I and my brothers, Daniel and Gregory were growing up, he was somewhat reticent about his Army service during the mid 1950’s. He was drafted in the military between wars so he wasn’t in combat but he served with the 328th Army Security CR Company in Bavaria. For more than two years, he had Top Secret Cryptographic Clearance as he used his Morse Code skills to gather intelligence during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 when the Soviet military occupied the country. He was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.”
The evening ended with the award ceremony. Always self-effacing, as McBride accepted his prize, he told us about his friendship with Wags. ” I wish I could be as intelligent and witty as Daddy Wags “he communicated. “I had the privilege to party with Wags in Ireland. We had a great time in County Mayo! And I’m humbled to be in the presence of all the military and veterans, here.” Today and everyday, Ed McBride continues to honor God, country and service.
There are more photos on my slide show. Click the link to go to them:
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