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Remarkable Women: Northern Ireland native moves to Grand Strand, serves families in legal system

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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) — News13’s search for Remarkable Women in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee takes us to Murrells Inlet, where Kate Maloney serves as the Executive Paralegal for attorney John Hillard.

The mother of five tucked her hopes, dreams and aspirations in a suitcase and moved to the United States in search of a better life in 1994. The journey ahead didn’t always come easy for her, but she never gave up and stepped up to the plate even when life threw her curve balls.

Maloney took the cards she was dealt in life and turned them into a winning hands. She first came to the United States on a one-year work visa from Northern Ireland.

“So I grew up during the troubles and that was also one of the reasons why I wanted to leave, there was a lot of turmoil,” Maloney explained. “I knew that if I was going to progress I was going to have to leave that area.”

That’s what Maloney did, at 24 years old, she packed her bags and headed to the United States.

“In my time in New York I became involved with the Irish American community up there. There’s an organization called the ancient order of Hibernians. It’s an Irish-American Fraternal organization and it’s all about charity,” Maloney said. 

It was through this organization that Maloney started to pour into the place that watered her hopes and dreams of a better future.

“We did a lot of work with the veterans, I have a very soft spots for veterans we would do the care packages for the troops. We would hear about families in need,” she said.

It seemed Maloney was finding her niche and just as she stared to become more involved in New York, she found the one her soul may have been searching for all along. She met her husband Paul, a retired detective with NYPD.

“When 9/11 happened that changed our lives for sure,” Maloney said.

Paul was one of the first responders. No cell phone communication made it difficult. Maloney’s strength was tested. 

“Cops’ wives would call me and say, ‘my husband just got home he saw your husband. Can you call these ladies,’ and then I would say Michelle’s husband saw your husband. And then, and that’s how we kept it going because we didn’t know what was going on,” Maloney explained.

In the years following the 9/11 attacks, her family decided to relocate to Myrtle Beach. Maloney takes pride in her job as a paralegal for John Hilliard.

“Basically I tell people that I’m John’s right hand chick, making sure the hearings are prepared for properly so that the clients get the best representation we can give them,” Maloney said. 

Her biggest accomplishments though are her children.

“People say to me all the time you have five children how do you do it, you just do it, you just get up and you do it,” she stressed.

And that’s how she tackles each day, with a go-and-get-it attitude.

“Don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t do it. The only dreams that you have to chase are your own.  I mean I chased my dream and I’m living a beautiful life, a blessed life,” Maloney said.

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