The Fr. Bernard Donnelly Hibernians in Johnson County, Kansas were instrumental in advocating to Kansas Governor Laura Kelly that she sign an official declaration naming March Irish American Heritage Month in the State of Kansas. Governor Kelly signed the declaration on March 1st, honoring the more than 340,000 Kansans of Irish descent who “have played a vital role in shaping Kansas’s history and culture.”
The Donnelly Division President Zach Kittle led the effort in contacting the Governor’s office in Topeka, and received the physical proclamation from the Governor, which was announced at the March meeting of the Donnelly Hibernians in Overland Park, Kansas. This proclamation not only honors the memories of Irish immigrants and their descendants who settled in Kansas, but also will help promote the causes of the Irish American community in the state, including the growth of the AOH in cities across Kansas.
This proclamation comes at a time when the Donnelly Hibernians have been working with prospective brothers throughout Kansas at founding a number of new divisions in the state in cities like Lawrence, Leavenworth, and Wichita. Historically, Kansas was home to as many as 12 Hibernian divisions, though most of them closed down in the years after World War II. The Donnelly Division was founded in 2002 and has represented the Irish community in Kansas as well as in the bi-state Kansas City metropolitan area.