Cathleen (Cat) Lowery is a native of Huntsville and a graduate of Butler High School. She's the mother of two amazing kids and a Process Analyst at WOW Business. She's an active member and valued Blue Shirt for Free the Hops. She volunteers at several events each year such as Rocket City Brewfest and Pro Bono Brews. She serves as Co-Krewe Leader for the Free the Hops Krewe of Ninkasi in the Huntsville Mardi Gras Parade. Through her work association, she volunteers each year alongside co-workers from WOW at the Madison County Special Olympics. Between her son Jake (11) and daughter Sadie (6), they stay very busy with sports and school activities throughout the year. When they find the opportunity, they love a good road trip. They always take the scenic route and visit as many roadside attractions as possible.
"As a busy working mom, I've committed to taking a little more time for myself in 2018. Being honoured as the Parade Queen feels like a validation for all working moms that put so much into our children, our work and our community, and often leave ourselves for last on that list. This is also an opportunity to show my children that good things come to those whom engage with their community. The Irish culture's tenacity to not only survive but thrive is in keeping with my approach to building the best life I can for myself, my children and my community.
I'm grateful that I was chosen to be a part of this year’s parade and thrilled that my children get to participate with me. I hope they will see that it's never too late to chase a dream and make good things happen for yourself. As a long-time parade watcher, but first time participant, I am truly honoured to be chosen as Queen. I am proud to represent all things Irish for this wonderful day of celebration in Huntsville!"
Abby Amis – Princess of Connacht
Abby is a sophomore in high school. She is actively involved in swim team, theatre, a capella, Junior Grace Club, Guerilla Art Society, and the Victorian Cotillion Club. She loves to volunteer at Lowe Mill, the Huntsville Botanical Gardens, and Panoply.
"Being a part of this parade is a wonderful way for me to honour my heritage. My grandmother was part Irish and sadly, she died before I was born. I feel like this would be a wonderful way to honour her and my heritage. This is my second year being a princess in the parade court. I would love to gain an even greater appreciation for Irish culture after this parade.""
Melissa Sabukosek – Princess of Leinster
Melissa attended Ardmore High School and Athens State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2005. She began her career with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences as a Drug Chemist in 2007, until she moved to Missouri in 2013. While living in St. Louis, she began a career with the St. Louis County Medical Examiner's Office in Forensic Toxicology. In 2015, her mom was diagnosed with cancer and she moved back to Alabama to help take care of her. Melissa’s mom unfortunately passed away this year and she hopes to raise awareness for endometrial cancer by letting people know how important it is to recognize the signs, so that it may be detected as early as possible. She is also an advocate of heart health awareness as I have been dealing with issues for years after being diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse, Wolfe Parkinson White and Dysautonomia. These are all manageable diseases if they are diagnosed properly and in a timely manner.
Melissa is currently a toxicologist with Madison Core Laboratories, where she assists physicians in determining the best course of action for treating patients. She is involved with the Chive - a charity organization that raises awareness as well as money for veterans, children, adults, and anyone who may need assistance. She enjoys working on her car and spending time with her family.
"This is the third year that I have represented the Leinster Province and am truly honoured. I am very proud of my Irish heritage and love all the smiling faces I see each year at the parade. Each year, everyone gets to be Irish for at least one day! We share our love and joy for our culture in a way that only the Irish can....loud and proud!
I hope to represent the wonderful culture to the best of my ability this year to ensure that everyone who sees me knows that I am happy and proud to be Irish family. If I can make people smile, laugh, dance and let loose of all the stresses of everyday life at least for a day, then my job is complete.
I encourage everyone to enjoy life to the fullest each day as we are not guaranteed to see another sunrise and always tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Life is too short to be anything but happy!!!!!"
Amber Jones – Princess of Munster
A native of Madison County, Amber obtained her undergraduate degree from Berry College in Georgia, a master’s from CWU in the Pacific Northwest, then moved to Toronto to pursue a doctorate at York University. Although some of her more interesting tales are from studying Tibetan macaques in China and Orangutans in Indonesia, these days her favourite tails are attached to canines. Since returning to Alabama, she stays busy working for two non-profits and teaching at UNA. On a pretty weekend she’s usually driving a tractor at Top Turf Sod Farm, closely followed by a pack of friendly black dogs. Her favourite things include cheese, wine, and science programs, and spending time with her Matt and their animals.
Janie Shirley – Princess of Ulster
Janie is a 4 th grader at Weatherly Heights Elementary School. She is on the Roadrunner Robotics team and the school’s morning TV show. This year she is serving as the events committee chairman for the No Place for Hate program at Weatherly. Janie enjoys playing soccer and softball for Huntsville Liberty League and spending time with her friends.
"It is a great honour to be chosen to represent Ulster Provence in this year's parade. Ulster is the Northern most province. Ulster has a Scots-Irish population, so It was perfect for me since my dad is Scottish and my mom is Irish. After attending this parade for years, this is the first year I have been a part of the parade. I am very excited to learn more about the parade, the people, and more of my Irish culture."
As Janie prepares for this year's parade, she would like to share this quote from Alex Morgan – "Dream big. Because dreams do happen if you work hard enough."
Congratulations to all these lucky ladies!
2018 Grand Marshal
Capt. Gary M. Rose
Retired Capt. Gary "Mike" Rose was recognized with the Medal of Honor more than 47 years after his heroic actions in the nation of Laos, during the Vietnam War.
Capt. Gary Michael Rose enlisted in the U. S. Army, April 4, 1967. In October 1967, Rose began Special Forces Training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A year later, he graduated as a Special Forces medic and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group. In April 1969, Rose was assigned to the 46th Special Forces Company, headquartered in Lopburi, Thailand. In April 1970, Rose was reassigned to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group, 5th Special Forces Group.
In August 1973, Rose was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in Field Artillery in December 1973, and attended Field Artillery Officer Basic at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1978, Rose attended the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course followed by various field artillery assignments in Germany, New Mexico, Korea and Fort Sill.
Rose graduated in December 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in General Education and Military Science from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and a Masters of Arts in Communication from the University of Oklahoma in December 1989.
Rose retired from the U. S. Army in May 1987. He then worked as an instructional designer writing operator, user and maintenance manuals, as well as designing training for the manufacturing industry. He permanently retired in 2010. Rose has been married to his wife Margaret since 1971. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. In retirement, Rose has remained involved in charity activities primarily through the Knights of Columbus.