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From poverty in Ireland to success in Alexandria

Saturday - 11/19/2011, 2:19pm  ET

PT_bookcover512.jpg
The cover of Pat Troy's autobiography. (Courtesy Photo)

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Pat Troy is a man whose personality can take over a room.

He's also honest.

"I've always been like that. I'll tell you straight to your face what I think," says Troy.

Now, the Alexandria man with the thick Irish brogue is telling his life story.

"I'm the luckiest person in the world for the great things that have happened to me in my lifetime, in coming to this country," says Troy.

Troy owns Ireland's Own restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, and he's the founder of the city's St. Patrick's Day parade. But he began life as poor child in Ireland.

He trained as a butler at a castle, and a chance meeting with a woman at the castle one day eventually landed him in the U.S. in the early 1960s. The woman decided to become his sponsor.

Troy has worked for the Kennedys, owned a racehorse, met President Ronald Reagan and Pope Benedict.

The 70-year-old says he's learned some things along the way.

"If you have respect for people, they like you. And you have no problem," says Troy. "Treat them the way human beings should be."

Troy says friends insisted he write his autobiography, appropriately titled "I Have a Story To Tell."

"It sends a message out to all immigrants from all over the world, not only from Ireland, to come to this great country, what's waiting for them. And (it's) an appreciation to what America's done for us," says Troy.

For now, the book is only available for sale at his restaurant.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)