Life is full of chances and many times a chance meeting or event can be life changing.
That is what happened with 2013 Aide to the Grand Marshal Joe McDonald.
Back in 2002, a chance event allowed him to acquire the Mets Online Fan Forum, allowing him to break into the sports industry and as a byproduct, learn web designing and development. Two careers were spawned from that, as the former stockbroker became a professional sports writer and a web developer.
Then in 2007 a chance meeting with Glen Cove Hibernians led Joe to joining the Mike Moran Division eventually leading to an AOH tenure where he served as Division President, the first Online Editor of the Hibernian Digest, and in his current positions as National, New York State and Nassau County Webmaster.
Chance has always been part of Joe’s life. It started with his birth on March 28, 1970, he was put up for adoption at Our Lady of Victory Homes in Lackawanna, NY. Three months later, Joseph Benedict McDonald and Catherine Ann (nee Cleary) McDonald took a chance and adopted baby Eric, renamed him Joseph Gerard, and moved him to Bay Ridge Brooklyn.
Joe was raised in the Borough of Churches, graduating from Our Lady of Angels Grammar School in 1984, Xaverian High School in 1988 and then Fordham University four years later.
Joe took a chance in 2004, moving to Long Island from Brooklyn, looking for a change from city life.
Another chance was taken in 2010 when then National Editor Keith Carney in 2010 asked Joe to design the first Online Hibernian Digest in AOH history. Joe’s Division Presidency, from 2011 to 2012 saw not only the naming of the first-ever two National Life Members from Division 8, but also the naming of two Division members, he and John O’Connell, to the AOH National Board.
As National Webmaster, Joe built the first online national application, first online national division directory, the first national social media pages, and is overseeing the building of the new AOH member management system. He has also provided web design for a large number of other Irish organizations and businesses.
Being part of the AOH has allowed Joe to get in touch with his Irish roots. At the age of nine, he played his grandfather’s Irish button accordion and picked up that instrument again a few years ago. He has won prizes for his music at Feiseanna and also an award winning Irish soda bread, taking second place this past year at the Nassau County Feis.
The risk taking paid off for Joe, since he was able to build two businesses. As a sportswriter for the last nine years, Joe has worked for Fox Sports, ESPN, New York Sportscene, the Blueshirt Bulletin, Tennis Now Magazine, and his own company, Sportsday Publishing. He has, covered such high profile events as the MLB Playoffs, the World Series, the US Tennis Open, the US Golf Open, and the Stanley Cup.
Applying his web design expertise, Joe opened Damocles Designs Web Services and has a growing business in that industry.
The biggest chance effecting Joe’s life was taken by Elizabeth (Liz) Curtin, who married Joe and they have two children Joseph Patrick, age nine and four year-old Jamie Ann. They live in West Hempstead, NY – Liz’s hometown – and attend St. Thomas the Apostle Church.