Stephen was born on July 4, 1963 and raised in Bronx County, NY attending Saint Agnes High School. He served in the United States Navy from 1981- 1985 as a Seabee Construction Mechanic. He later was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad Company and the Metro North Railroad Company. He was appointed as a Police Officer in the New York City Police Department on January 13, 1992.
Stephen Driscoll was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor during the Annual Medal Day ceremony on December 4, 2001. The New York City Police Department Medal of Honor is the highest award that may be bestowed upon a member of the service.
W&T spoke with Pipe Major Mike MacNintch ahead of the 9/11 15th Anniversary Memorial Parade to be held this Friday September 9th in Downtown NYC.
W&T: Who initially founded the band?
MM: The band was started by a few former members of the Putnam County Sherriff's Department Pipe Band which disbanded in 2005. There were enough people interested in playing at events that the idea of a new band connected to the police lodge formed. At first I was the instructor, and the band was very loosely organized. In November of 2007, I took the reigns as pipe major and began to build.
W&T: Why was Stephen P. Driscoll chosen for the formation of the band? Is there a personal connection?
MM: The band and the lodge are named after NYPD Officer Stephen P. Driscoll, who was killed on 9/11. I taught his son, Barry, now in the NYPD, and his nephew Billy Silke, who currently plays in the band. FOP Lodge 704 (Stephen Driscoll was born on the 4th of July) was founded by the late Jimmy O'Neill, who was a tremendous help to the band.
W&T: What Grade level is the band at this time? Do you compete?
MM: The band competes in Grade 5 and plays in parades and ceremonies throughout the Hudson Valley. We have played with The Chieftains many times and the NYC Tartan Day Parade is a favorite event each year.
W&T: Tell the readers about your involvement in the 9/11 15th Anniversary Memorial Parade taking place on 9 September in Lower Manhattan.
MM: It is a great honor for the band to play in this parade, being the only civilian band invited. We are one of only two 9/11 memorial pipe bands - the other being Firefighter McPadden Pipes & Drums of Goshen NY.
The band proudly wears the New York City Tartan, which was designed by Lochcarron of Scotland, and presented to New York City in April, 2002. The tartan depicts the colourings of the streets and buildings of the city, with the green section representing Central Park. The two black stripes are to honour the memory of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, with the blue section recognising the island of Manhattan surrounded by the Hudson & East rivers. It is no accident that these colours also depict those worn by the Celtic nations represented in the world wide pipe band fraternity participating in Tunes of Glory in New York City at NYC Tartan Week.
The band has performed at the U.S. Military Tattoo at West Point, New York, and opened for the New York based band Shillelagh Law several times. In March 2008, they had the privilege of playing with the Chieftains in New York City, New Jersey and Massachusetts.