Billy Herman was named parade grand marshal Friday at the Irish-American Heritage Society’s annual Grand Marshal’s Ball, which marked the start of the Irish-American season in Augusta.
The society will hold a parade March 16, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Sunday this year.
Also honored at the ball were the family of Bill Bambrick, named Irish Family of the Year, and Ann Leonard Ribock, named Irish Lady of the Year.
Herman and Ribock trace their family lineages several generations back to the Sheehan clan of County Cork, Ireland. Early members of the Sheehan family settled in Augusta in the mid- to late 1800s.
Herman attended Mount St. Joseph Academy, Boys Catholic High School and the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Peggy, attend St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church and have three children and five grandchildren.
“I was surprised and thrilled I was selected,” he said.
Herman has known every past grand marshal, who have been named since 1978, and was kin to several, he said.
Ribock’s mother, Ann Markwalter Leonard, was named Irish Lady of the Year in 1987. Ribock’s father, Denny Leonard, was grand marshal of the 1981 parade.
A member of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church, Ribock has five children and six grandchildren. She is married to John Ribock.
Bambrick and his wife, Debbie, have three children and four grandchildren who live in Augusta. He attends Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
Bambrick is a past grand knight of the Knights of Columbus Patrick Walsh Council 677. The Augusta native owns Loblolly Bay Landscape Co.
“Both sides of my family are Irish,” Bambrick said. “The heritage goes way back.”