Jim Casey will be front and center at the Columbus St. Patrick's Day parade -- and Francis Doyle will be right behind him.
Casey, of the Northwest Side, has been named parade grand marshal, and Doyle, a longtime Clintonville resident who now lives in Dublin, has been named Irishman of the year for the Shamrock Club of Columbus.
That means both will have prominent positions as the parade wends its way from Nationwide Arena west to the Franklin County Veterans Memorial Sunday, March 17.
The parade will have more than 100 marching bands, floats, equestrian units, walking units and motorized units. It will begin at 11:30 a.m. It draws thousands of spectators, who line each side of the parade route.
Casey, who's been involved with the organization since 1992, said he's honored to be chosen as grand marshal.
"I'm not one who joins an organization and takes up a seat at a meeting -- I get active," said Casey, who was president of the Shamrock Club in 1998.
Doyle was president of the Shamrock Club in 2010 and knows how hard it is to pick someone for the club's top award.
"The Shamrock Club is like any other organization and volunteers are the lifeblood and what sustains it as an organization," Doyle said.
"I know full well how hard a decision it is to make," he said. "This club has so many volunteers who donate time and energy to make it a success."
Each was chosen by current Shamrock Club President John Connor, a judge in Ohio's 10th District Court of Appeals.
As Irishman of the year, Doyle will walk in the Columbus St. Patrick's Day parade with his family behind a banner announcing the honor. Doyle, a 24-year Dublin resident and a longtime resident of Clintonville prior to that, plans to sport a hat that has seen decades of St. Patrick's Day parades.
"I have a top hat my father gave me that he bought in 1926," Doyle said. "It's a true beaver top hat that I only wear on St. Patrick's Day.
"Nobody touches it but me. This hat has been in the parade since the 1920s."
Casey, 72, moved to Columbus in 1968, shortly after earning his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Missouri.
His friends at St. Timothy Catholic Church, where he is a member, told him to look into joining the Shamrock Club.
Casey, who retired from Chemical Abstract Services in 2004, said he plans to stay involved with the club.
"I like all the people," he said. "I've been in Columbus for more than 40 years. Most of my friends are at the Shamrock Club."
Doyle, 69, has been involved with the Shamrock Club since 1969 -- with a three-year sabbatical when he was transferred to Virginia for work -- and said he loves its numerous events.
He's also proud of the work the Shamrock Club has done through the Monsignor J. Colby Grimes Memorial Scholarship that gives five $1,000 awards to students at Columbus's five Catholic high schools.
"It's probably the best thing I think we do as a club," Doyle said. "The volunteer hours they spend is enormous during the year.
"And once you start volunteering, it becomes habitual."
Other 2013 Shamrock Club of Columbus honorees include members of the year Ann Ralston, of northwest Columbus, and Tim Krumlauf, of Madison Township in southeastern Franklin County.
President's Award winners were Chris Konik of Delaware and Tony Hatem of Amanda.