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Ancient Order of Hibernians honors local judge as Irishman of the Year

Celebrating the 2015 Kevin Kipp St. Charles Irishman of the Year Award are (from left) John Wilson, Rocky Reitmeyer and Grant C. Gorman.

Celebrating the 2015 Kevin Kipp St. Charles Irishman of the Year Award are (from left) John Wilson, Rocky Reitmeyer and Grant C. Gorman.

Grant C. Gorman says his education taught him several things that have stood him in good stead – given that he’s now been named the Irishman of the Year in St. Charles County.

“I had a Jesuit education which taught me two big things,” Gorman, an associate circuit judge in the 11th Judicial District in St. Charles, said as he was accepting the Kevin Kipp St. Charles Irishman of the Year Award on Sept. 16. “One is if you smart off to a Jesuit priest, you better be able to move quickly. Two was that charity begins locally and at home.

“That led down the path of public service.”

An attorney for 20 years, Gorman, 48, was appointed to a new associate circuit judge seat by Gov. Jay Nixon in April. He also has served as a chief administrative law judge for the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations since 2006, as a county assistant prosecuting attorney from 1999 to 2006 and on other civic boards including as president of the St. Charles city D.A.R.E board and as a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation board.

Gorman said his education continued as he researched his family’s Irish heritage. Family names such as the Stewarts and O’Driscolls from Galway in Ireland emerged. He said the Gorman clan has roots in the Irish town of Kilkenny, and he noted that he continues to try to learn as much about his heritage as possible.

He is active in the St. Louis Gaelic Athletic Association that promotes Irish sports such as football and hurling.

The award that Gorman received is named after Kevin Kipp, a division member and St. Charles-based public relations and communications professional who passed away in 2004. Kipp was deeply involved in community affairs and local civic organizations.

Gorman received the award at what St. Peters Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer, a member of the St. Charles Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, called a “green tie affair.”

John Wilson, former president of the local chapter and the Missouri division of the Hibernians, introduced Gorman, saying that becoming a judge challenges a person’s patience, compassion, courage and creativity as he or she listens to problems.

“Then after allowing everyone having their say, a judge must find a reasonable, practical, legally appropriate, just and socially responsible resolution that changes the lives for the better,” Wilson said. “All before the courthouse closes for the day.”

Changing lives is a core mission of the Mike S. Roarty (St. Charles) Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Its service includes working with and supporting local charities and organizations such as Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service in St. Charles and the St. Vincent de Paul Society, along with working with veterans and other organizations.

“We are here to do some good work as well as keep the knowledge and our history not just alive but vibrant,” Reitmeyer said.

Keeping that history and work alive involves both men and women.

Sandi Swift, president of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians – John F. Kennedy Division, said that chapter works with a sister city in Ireland and with local charities. The women’s division has more than 70 members, many of whom are young women.

She said interest in Irish history and culture often arises out of Irish families.

“It all depends on how you were brought up,” Swift said.

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