From Ron McCloskey
Way back i 1993 Ron McCloskeys’ buddy Rick Bradley of the Mississauga Ontario Canada Fire Dept. called and asked me where we should meet to watch a couple of World Series games with the Phillies vs. the Blue Jays. He said he, Rolly Landerioux and JJ Jackson would meet me anywhere half way between Mississauga & Philly. We kicked around the names such as Williamsport Pa. & Elmira N.Y. just to name a few. At this time our friends Bill Buttery & Rich Wolk of the Stamford Conn Fire Dept. heard about our adventure and suggested we go to Binghamton NY. They said members of their Pipe Band (West Chester Co N.Y.) have been involved in their St’ Patrick’s weekend for years & it was a great party town. They also said if we choose Binghamton they would meet us there. So we picked a date, a time , a bar a motel (a real flop house) and the six of us met to watch the first game of the World Series. That night at the Relief Pitcher Bar we met up with a large group of Binghamton Firefighters who were making their second day work stop. They were amazed that we decided to meet in their town. We became friendly with John Sullivan who appeared to be the organizer of the group. Late in the early morning hours he arranged for a police (TJ Skinner) escort back to our dive, I mean motel. TJ drove into the parking lot with lights & siren & folks scattered every which way. TJ & Sully spent some time with us and we agreed to meet again the next night. In the meantime Sully got us the Holiday Inn for the 2nd night. That night Bradley asked Sully how the golf courses were in the area. Sully said he wasn’t a golfer but the courses are terrific. We worked out a plan to have a large group of us the golf there in May. In Feb. of 1994 we added Sully to our Fire hockey team that plays a tournament in Toronto every year. He told us that the last day of the tournament is the first day of the Binghamton parade weekend and we should bring our dress uniforms and march with them in the parade. After a week of hockey we headed to Sully’s house. Friday night was went to the Knights of Columbus to watch the West Chester Band. Saturday we marched and Saturday night went to St. Michael’s to catch the NYPD band. What an outstanding weekend. That May (1994) 80 firefighters from Chesapeake Va. to Providence R.I. to Columbus Ohio Canada & many departments in between met at the Holiday inn for the scramble tournament. Sully had beer & finger food waiting for us along with a hospitality room & the Broome Co Pipes & Drums performed for us. This was when I met Rich Maloney. Let me backtrack a bit. In Jan. 1994 at the funeral for John Redmond I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time none other than Bill Newland and his best buddy Bob Conerton along with Pat Eggleston (Who I met in Oct.93) and others. I already had some Stamford guys with me so I asked Joe Potts if he could get them to our union hall, Froggy Carrs etc. and I would meet them there. Joe took real good care of them. Back to hockey, parade golf etc. the same thing went on for the next 3 years. Around 1996 Fred Donnelly went to Binghamton with our golfers and met Rich Maloney. Fred told Rich about us starting a band. Rich let Fred try his pipes and Fred really had difficulty. Fred hung in there and the following year (at golf) he played a set with the Broome Co. Band. Although Fred never made a parade (just the golf) he and I talked up the parade to our members. It was probably around 1998 or 1999 that the Johnson City Firefighters (Ken Roe Drum Major & chief.) sponsored us to lead them in the parade. The rest is history. We started to get a huge following (the Kazzoers). Kudos to Bill Newland Grand Marshall and John Sullivan. If it weren’t for Rick Bradley and Sully planning the golf and Sully being a hockey player and Bill and Richie saying pick Binghamton none of this would have happened. Final note, we now have 120 golfers a year and last year(2014) we raised $9,800 dollars that went to firefighters in need. I am so proud to have been a member of the PFD and to call all these other great men my brothers. Hope I didn’t boor you to death.
“The House of Reardon” is one of the sponsors Billy Newland put together. We got the Knights because around 2000-2001 the West Chester band left immediately after the parade because a couple of their members fell marching in a snow storm. We went to the Knights after Seton High and they said thank God you’re here West Chester cancelled. West Chester never returned. I failed to mention Donal O’shaunnessy. Donal O’shaunnessy and the band go way back to our 1st or 2nd year there. A group of us (and the Kazooers) went to an Irish bar “Carnsie’s” on the east side. Donal was in the middle of his all day performance. He took to us immediately and we played along and sang with him. We requested he do a song in honor of John Lonorgan who on that day 35 years ago was given his last rights in Viet Nam. He got the huge crowd to rise & raise their glasses as we played Amazing Grace. The next year we went back and he remembered all our names and even introduce to the crowd John Lonorgan. The American Hero. Since that time we have used him at a couple of Pipers Balls , at least 3 weddings, at Tommy Fullerton’s down the shore and the club house here in Bear Creek Lakes. He is a great performer and even a better person. We even went up for Donal’s wedding. What a great guy. Some of the other classics are retired Binghamton cop Billy Grace and Pat Eggleston. The next time I get a chance I’ll say a few words about retired Police Officer Bill Grace who has acted as MC and DJ at our Ball in Binghamton.