PLATTSBURGH — When Roderic Giltz’s father was named Irishman of the Year in 1979, the breakfast was followed by a parade through downtown Plattsburgh featuring the honoree and his family.
While Rod was pleased for his dad, the venerable E. Glenn Giltz, it couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“I remember thinking: I have things to do, I can’t ride around in a parade all day,” he said with a big smile Monday morning after he was awarded the same honor given to his father 34 years ago.
There was no parade this year and hasn’t been for a few decades, but Rod was certainly the main attraction of Monday’s North Country Chamber of Commerce annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast.
The ceremony marked the 55th time a worthy soul was given the honor, which indicates the recipient’s devotion to community service over the years, along with genuine fellowship.
Rod’s selection marked the first time a father and son have won the award.
He was pleasantly surprised.
“I applied for the job in Rome (as new Roman Catholic pope), and I figured I was a long shot for that, but I thought this would be an even bigger long shot,” Rod kidded with the crowd after receiving his honor from Master of Ceremonies Kevin Killeen.
Applauding him was a crowd of about 400 at SUNY Plattsburgh’s Warren Ballroom.
Rod, 75, is known in the North Country for shepherding the family business, Northern Insuring, as its chairman for decades.
But he is also just as well known for the amount of time he has spent serving on community boards, trusts and foundations.
He has chaired or has been president of 12 community organizations in his career and has served on another half-dozen boards.