The calendar may say its still Winter, but an annual Spring tradition is just around the corner.
Hilton Head Island took its first step toward St Patrick’s Day.
Gloria and Allen LaCoe were named the 2020 St Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshals.
The real estate company owners came to Hilton Head Island in 1995 as part-time residents and made the Island their permanent home a few years later. Since then they have built a successful real estate business, but it is the couple’s tireless dedication to benevolence and charity that inspired the Committee to select them as this year’s Grand Marshals. “We were…blown away!” said Gloria upon learning the news. “My first reaction was that there are way too many people on this island who are far more deserving,” added Allan.
Gloria hails from central Massachusetts and Allan was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Their paths eventually led them to meet in Atlanta, Georgia while working in the home furnishings industry. They were frequent visitors to Hilton Head Island, eventually bought a property and, a familiar story to many Island residents, finally made it their home. The LaCoes immediately got to work in their real estate business and serving the community.
The couple is probably best known for helping to establish the Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner held at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, which served about 300 people in its first year and has since grown to over 1,500 dinners served. But that is only the tip of the iceberg for the LaCoes. It began with volunteering for the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, eventually becoming board members and they are still involved to this day.
“We knew every one of those kids and we knew the parents and the grandparents,” remembers Allen. “It’s funny now that we run into those same kids and maybe they are a bank teller at a bank, or a waitress or a teacher, teacher of the year in Beaufort County, and they will say you made a difference in our life.”
Other local organizations that have benefited from the LaCoes service include: The Children’s Center, Salkahatchie Summer Service, St. Andrews by the Sea Soup Kitchen, Island Recreation Center / People for Parks, Southern Coast Heart Ball and Main Street Youth Theater among numerous others.
The 37th annual Hilton Head Island St Patrick’s Day Parade is Sunday, March 15. It starts at 3pm.