SADOE Receives City of Reno Historical Resources Commission Award

The Sons & Daughters of Erin were be recognized on May 9 by the City of Reno Historical Resources Commission for their Legacy Business Award, which recognizes the City’s oldest businesses for their contribution to the community. SADOE joined other businesses that were over 50 years old for their contribution to the community. We were nominated by one of our Irish Person’s of the Year, Cindy Ainsworth, a former president of the RHRC, for our efforts in restoring Irish-American Family graves at Hillside Cemetery and continuing the Blanchfield Memorial Tradition.

Ainsworth’s nomination stated the following:

The group is dedicated to celebrating Irish history, culture and traditions.

The non-profit organization was established in 1969 and is one of the oldest Irish Clubs on the west coast.  The group not only promotes the history of the Irish in Nevada, but through the years has contributed to the Northern Nevada community in many ways.  The group established the St. Patrick’s Grove in Rancho San Rafael, continues to help with the Hillside Cemetery restoration of 19th Century Irish families’ gravesites and reinstated the Blanchfield Memorial Ceremony.  This active  organization itself should be considered a part of Reno’s history.

History and Accomplishments:

The Sons of Erin was formed in 1969 by nearly forty prominent Reno businessmen and elected officials, who held their first St. Patrick’s Day Dinner & Show at the Reno Elks Lodge. They included the last names of Healy, Connolly, O’Mara and Sullivan who are familiar in the business community today. The name “Sons of Erin” (Ireland) is derived from a Civil War regiment made-up of Irish soldiers.

In 1996, their name was changed to: “The Sons and Daughters of Erin (SADOE).” They are and have been involved in community projects over the years to improve conditions in our area including the following activities: Memorial tree planting at St. Patrick’s Grove in Rancho San Rafael park, adopting Longford Park in Sparks, inheriting the Celtic Celebration as the “Northern Nevada Celtic Ceilidh,” participating in various community events such as parades and donating to local charitable organizations 

In 2012, SADOE renewed a tradition of spreading shamrocks on the grave of Irish-American airmail pilot William Blanchfield, on or around St. Patrick’s Day. The event continues as an annual memorial with a bagpiper and recitation of his heroic feats. Many Blanchfield relatives attend the yearly event. SADOE commemorated the century mark of this tradition at their St. Patrick’s Day Dinner earlier this year.

In 2019, the group worked with the Sons and Daughters of Erin of Southern Nevada and with assistance from the City of Reno to restore around 30 burial plots of Irish families at Hillside Cemetery, one of Reno’s oldest cemeteries.

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