Without a doubt, the highlight of SUN’s 35th Anniversary Gala celebration held on October 20th was Claire McGrath’s appearance to accept her award for Lifetime achievement with SUN. She showed us all, at 84 years young, that she is still a firebrand!
Claire accepting her award at the dinner:
Here’s a photo of Claire confronting then Deputy Mayor Tim Carroll at a 2008 meeting on vacant houses:
From the SUN proclamation:
Claire McGrath: Lifetime Achievement Award
Claire McGrath is a force of nature, a forceful and determined woman, always willing to speak her mind and to fight for the causes she cares so deeply for: her family, her political party, her union, seniors, the disabled—and thankfully for all of us—for SUN.
Claire has been involved in practically every issue that SUN has pursued, joining us in the 1970’s at the beginning our campaign for property tax reassessment. She has held every office on our Board of Directors and always had a seat at the front table at public meetings, hearings and negotiations. She was always known to yell out—“I don’t need a microphone” and she was right.
Claire’s most famous line was documented on the front page of the Post Standard in 1994. SUN had invited the newly elected Mayor Roy Bernardi to a large public meeting and he attempted to slip unnoticed into a seat in the audience. Claire patted the seat next to her on the dais, and yelled out “We have a seat right here for you. Welcome to OUR world Mr. Mayor.”
As a young woman, Claire and her family were working at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941–the day of the Japanese air attack. Claire witnessed history as a teenager—she made history in Syracuse as an adult. SUN will eternally be in her debt.