The first woman to receive the St Patrick Knight of the Year and the traditional green jacket in America, is Bernadette Smyth La France, daughter of Leitrim couple John and Ann Wynne Smyth.
Bernadette from New Haven, Connecticut was awarded the Knight from the second oldest Irish organisation in the United States.
Bernadette’s father, the late John F. Smyth is from Aughnasheelin, Ballinamore and her mother Ann Wynne Smyth is from Dowra, Ballinaglera.
Bernadette resides in Guilford with her husband, Rob and their three sons John, Joseph and James. Bernadette was honoured at a dinner on June 26 where she received the signature, traditional green jacket. The green jacket is only given to Knight of the Year recipients and the club presidents.
Bernadette was recognized for her dedication and hard work serving the club for many years, and primarily for her work as Knights of St. Patrick Annual Banquet Chairman that takes place every March 17th. Bernadette was the first female chairman of the banquet since the club began in 1878.
After her acceptance speech, Bernadette’s oldest son John performed an acoustic solo instrumental of “Danny Boy” on the saxophone.