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Tom Supple

For Tom Supple, Irish roots provided a reason to do some good in St. Joseph.

As a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Mr. Supple has helped organize the local St. Patrick's Day Parade, Apple Blossom BBQ Contest and the city's new Irish Fest held this fall.

"These events are things that happen in other cities, and I thought they ought to happen here as well," Mr. Supple said.

He said that in addition to giving people an excuse to have a party, the events raise money for local charities like the Northwest Missouri Children's Advocacy Center and Second Harvest Community Food Bank.

"With most Irish immigrants here because of the potato famine, I thought we should help Second Harvest," Mr. Supple said. "It makes sense to fight hunger since that's what brought us here."

The idea to start a Downtown Irish Fest came from a few miles south, where Mr. Supple previously helped organize Weston Irish Fest in Weston, Mo. He said people interested in helping their own communities shouldn't be afraid to look to other cities for ideas.

"Get involved in any of the good groups around town and don't be afraid to copy what you see in other towns, because if someone isn't already doing it here, it's all new to St. Joseph," Mr. Supple said.

Clinton Thomas can be reached at clinton.thomas@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPThomas.