|By G. Michael Dobbs|
The great James Brown has often been described as "the hardest-working man in show business," and while I'm not taking anything away from him, I can think of another "hardest" working guy right here in the Springfield area: Jack O'Neill.
O'Neill is a respected sportscaster on both radio and television, a sought-after master of ceremonies, and a voice-over artist for commercials. Every March he's the on-air host of the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade broadcast on WGBY. And he has had a separate career in higher education as a member of the administration at Springfield Technical Community College
I can't say that I'm friends with O'Neill, but I can say that he has treated me like a friend every time I've seen him. He's just one of those nice guys who is a pleasure every time you see him.
It's no secret that O'Neill has had some serious health concerns of late and a number of his friends have organized a little morale booster: a birthday party at the Log Cabin.
The party will be from 6 to 8 p.m. June 27 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. O'Neill's actual birthday is June 28. Tickets are $25 and checks should be made out to "O'Neill Party", and sent to William Kwolek, STCC Foundation, One Armory Square, PO Box 9000, Springfield, MA 01102. The deadline is June 20.
If Jack has touched your life in some way, coming to this party would be a great way of saying "Thanks."
The Valley Press Club Roast only happens once a year and perhaps that is a good thing. If the event occurred more often perhaps some of those darts that were slung might actually hurt a bit.
If you were a member of the Springfield City Council, your ears might have been burning a bit, as there were several folks who did not attend but did get skewered. Perhaps it was for the best!
What you missed were good food and drink provided by the Double Door Mexican Grill as well as sterling turns at the microphone by Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott, Springfield Mayor Charles Ryan and Rock 102's John O'Brien. The standout routine was delivered perfectly by Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe and his staff member Rich McCarthy and revealed what Ashe was actually thinking at such an event.
And it wasn't pretty! Funny, yes, nice, no!
Members of the area press then presented a series of skits that lampooned elected officials. Peter Goonan, the president of the Press Club, revealed once again his biting sense of humor in his role of master of ceremonies and actor, while Mike Plaisance, also of The Republican, did a spot on impersonation of Chris Matthews.
I was even allowed on stage as well with a terrible portrayal of State Representative Joe Wagner in a skit
Springfield City Hall employees turned on the press in a take-off of The Wizard of Oz.
The good nature spoofing raised money for the Press Club's scholarship fund.
Next year, though, I'm personally inviting some of the other mayors. Mike Sullivan of Holyoke and Mike Bissonnette of Chicopee both have sharp senses of humor and Rick Sullivan of Westfield, Richard Cohen of Agawam and Edward Gibson of West Springfield all are good sports.
There's no reason Springfield should have most of the fun.
This column represents the opinions of its author and no one else.
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