History of the SFBALEES

In April of 1998, a group of people including Val Kirwan, Marty Halloran, Joe McFadden, Pat Burke, Dermott Philpott, and Kevin Wiley met  at the Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco to discuss the possibility of forming  a Law Enforcement Emerald Society in the Bay Area. Over the following few months, those people and others met on a regular basis and were successful in writing the by-laws and setting up the necessary infrastructure of the organization to be called the San Francisco Bay Area Law Enforcement Emerald Society, or SFBALEES. Michelle Bracconier designed and donated the official logo of the organization.

SFBALEES’ purpose was defined to be to unite all law enforcement, clubs and associations; to recognize and promote the contribution of the Irish-American to law enforcement; to strengthen and develop community
relationships between law enforcement and our communities at large in order to uphold and defend the constitution and laws of the United States; and to work with other fraternal law enforcement organizations,
agencies, and Irish-American groups on areas of mutual concern.

In 1999, the president of the National Conference Law Enforcement Emerald Societies was Lieutenant Pat O’Brien, US Park Police. Lt. O’Brien traveled to San Francisco on March 5, 1999 to attend the first SFBALEES annual dinner dance. At that dinner, Lt. O’Brien swore in the first official Executive Board of SFBALEES. That board consisted of: Val Kirwan, President; Kevin Wiley, Vice President; Joe McFadden, Secretary; Marty Halloran, Treasurer; and Bill Holden, Sergeant at Arms. The first official Board of Directors was: Pat Burke, Richard Lonergan, Michael Loughran, Patrick Mahanay, Gordan Moore, T.J O’Connor, and Diarmuid
Philpott.

Since its inception, SFBALEES has done tremendous work in meeting its goals. We have been involved in numerous benefits for deserving or needy community members. We have sponsored numerous children’s Christmas parties at the Irish Cultural Center, and we have been instrumental in raising money for gifts, toys,   and electronic equipment for terminally ill children at UCSF. SFBALEES members have participated in every Saint Patrick’s Day parade in San Francisco since our inception. To honor our fellow officers who have given their lives in the line of duty, our members have attended and participated in National Police Officers’ Week
in Washington, DC. SFBALEES has also co-sponsored the California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation annual candle light vigil since 2005.

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