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Shamrocking out

This employee uses his communication skills to promote Irish culture

A man wearing a light blue shirt stands in front of a building
John Hyatt, a Corporate Communications writer and editor, stands in front of House of Ireland in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

My name is John Hyatt and I’m a San Diego-based writer and editor for Corporate Communications.

When I’m not at work, I volunteer for the Irish Congress of Southern California, a group that promotes Irish history and culture. It organizes San Diego’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, which draws about 25,000 people each year.

I’ve been a volunteer with the Irish Congress for about 25 years. I started out organizing Irish dancing on one of the stages, then moved on to organizing all the entertainment and events. In 2009, I was chairman of the entire parade and festival. This year, I’m handling media, social media and advertising.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding to see people enjoying and connecting with their heritage — or if they’re not Irish, enjoying being Irish for the day.

What attracts me to the community? The openness and hospitality. You feel like you’re always welcome.

That’s how I got involved, actually. Here in San Diego, we have a park with a bunch of little cultural community centers. One day I went into the Irish one, House of Ireland. The woman who greeted me there made me feel so at home, so welcome, that I kept coming back. They got me into Irish dancing.

I’m a member of the House of Ireland and have also been writing for the Irish Herald, the oldest Irish newspaper on the West Coast, for about 21 years.

My mother’s side is Dutch, and King’s Day is Saturday, April 27. It’s sort of the equivalent of St. Patrick’s Day for Dutch people. I’m involved with the planning for that celebration, too. I’ve been going nonstop after work and on the weekends!

“Off the Clock,” a column on Postal Service employees and their after-hours pursuits, appears regularly in Link.