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Irish eyes were smiling at Heinz Field

It was a great night for the Irish at Heinz Field on St. Patrick's Day, as The Ireland Funds America Pittsburgh Gala brought green to the home of the black and gold.

"For a long time we didn't have it on St. Patrick's Day because we thought people would have other plans, and the last several years we tried to have it on the holiday itself and it's worked our great," said Steelers' President Art Rooney II. "It's become part of people's St. Patrick's Day tradition. It's a great event."

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney Sr., along with Pittsburgh businessman Anthony J.F. O'Reilly, created The Ireland Fund, which later merged with the American Irish Foundation (AIF) to create the Ireland Funds America, the leading charitable organization benefiting Ireland.

Through the years it has grown, with the mission being promoting programs of peace and reconciliation, growing to include education, community development and more in Ireland.

The evening offered a taste of Irish culture and music for the guests, who were on hand to honor PNC Bank's Sy Holzer, the 2017 Ireland Funds America Chairman's Award recipient.

"We were excited to honor Sy this year," said Art Rooney II. "Sy has been a key part in organizing the dinner for all of these years. To be able to recognize him and all he has done for the dinner and in our community, it made for a fun night.

"Sy has been, for many years, one of the go-to guys in our community if you want to get something done. Not only the dinner itself, but the various things with the bank and the community. He is a special person, no doubt about it."  

Holzer, who previous was honored with the Art Rooney Humanitarian Award, was recognized for his extensive work in the community, helping with countless charities that have benefited from his generosity, time and effort.

"I feel in my heart that giving back is an absolute priority for all professionals," said Holzer.  "I work for a great company that gives me the opportunity to do so. It's in the fabric and fiber of PNC.  It's important to leave a legacy."

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