Dublin Villager

St. Patrick's Day Celebration

Grand Leprechaun has familiar face -- and legs

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Michael Blackwell, manager of the Dublin Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library has been named the 2014 Grand Leprechaun for the Dublin St. Patrick's Day Parade.

After twice winning the title "Best Legs in a Kilt," Michael Blackwell is taking another St. Patrick's Day honor this year.

The manager of the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library will lead Dublin's 2014 St. Patrick's Day Celebration parade as Grand Leprechaun.

The honor, given out annually by the city, recognizes community members who have significantly contributed to the community through leadership and community service.

"He's so excited," said Mary Jo DiSalvo, Dublin events administrator, who helps organize the parade.

"He knows the parents. He knows kids. He knows the community," DiSalvo said.

Some area residents might recognize the Dublin resident from the library, others know him through the many organizations with which he is involved.

Blackwell is a member of the Dublin AM Rotary, the Dublin Bicycle Advisory Task Force and the Dublin City Schools Business Advisory Council.

He also serves as an ambassador of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Historic Dublin Business Association.

"There are so many wonderful people in Dublin and they all care so passionately about making Dublin a great place to live," Blackwell said.

"There's so much community spirit to make Dublin an excellent city, I want to be among them," he said. "I get welcomed everywhere I go.

"Fortunately, my work for the library gives me a passport into the community I otherwise might not have," Blackwell said.

"People are so friendly and so giving, I want to join them and be someone who gives back."

The husband and father of four has found it easy to stay involved with community service because of the rewarding work.

"I love them all," Blackwell said of the groups he's involved with.

"It's been great to be involved with the school on the Business Advisory Council ... and it's been great working with the city and the chamber.

"The one I give the most time to is rotary," Blackwell said.

"It's the one that gives to students in Dublin and people who need the most help.

"It's a wonderful organization that supports literacy and supports creating a better world for everyone."

The Dublin AM Rotary has also put Blackwell in previous St. Patrick's Day parades as he helped marshal the parade.

Being in this year's parade, however, will be different when he is recognized as the Grand Leprechaun.

"I was utterly stunned," Blackwell said, of learning of the honor from the city.

"It's still hard to believe," he said.

"I'm familiar with the leprechauns. So many of them have done so much in the community. I'm honored to be counted among them."

Blackwell can also count himself among winners of another kind-the Dublin Business Association's Best Legs in a Kilt contest.

As a two-time winner, Blackwell plans to pull his kilt out from retirement for the parade.

"I am going to wear a kilt and bring out the full regalia with the jacket, hat, sporran -- that's the bag -- and socks," he said.

"I'll be very dressed for the occasion. I just hope it's not negative 10 degrees."

Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade begins at 11 a.m. March 15 and steps off from Metro Center and ends in Historic Dublin.

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