Parades are an O’Reilly family tradition.
While growing up in Hightstown, Tom O’Reilly helped his father layout the annual line of march for the local Memorial Day parade. It was a source of family pride, as was their Irish heritage.
O’Reilly’s father, Charlie, would often share stories about Tom’s great-grandfather, Thomas, a Calvary Officer in the Union Army during the Civil War. Thomas was Irish immigrant who came to America during the Irish famine period, and later served as a Grand Marshal of the NYC Memorial Day Parade.
This month, O’Reilly continues the tradition by serving as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 Hamilton St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday, March 11 at 1 p.m. The parade begins at the Nottingham Fire House, located at 200 Mercer St., and heads toward Nottingham Way. It takes a right onto Nottingham Way, following the road for a mile before ending at Hoover Avenue.
O’Reilly spent 45 years in public service. Today, he directs The Police Institute, Rutgers University. The Institute supports collaborative efforts with law enforcement agencies. While at the Institute, he has served as a community policing expert for U.S. Department of Justice in several cities, including Baltimore and Newark, and as an advisor to the Office Director of National Intelligence.
Prior to that, O’Reilly spent 33 years with the State of New Jersey, completing his career as the administrator of the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, the organization responsible for the oversight of the state police, homeland security and criminal prosecution. He also served as the assistant director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, as well as Chief of Police Programs for the State Law Enforcement Planning Agency. He started his career locally as the planning officer for the Trenton Police Division.
After retiring from the state, O’Reilly was appointed by the U.S. Attorney General as the Director of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Report Initiative (known popularly as “See Something, Say Something”). He led a team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers in the implementation of the counterterrorism program that fulfilled the 9-11 Commission Report’s recommendation of “connecting the dots.” He received numerous awards from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security for achievement and leadership, and is a two-time recipient of the Top Federal 100 Award.
O’Reilly earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Northeastern University and his master’s degree in administration from Rider University.
A Hamilton resident, O’Reilly has contributed to his hometown by serving as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 63, vice president for the George Washington Boy Scout Council and Mercer County 200 Club. He has also been active in the Irish Community as a member of the Division 1 Ancient Order of Hibernians, and served as the chair of the Famine Education Committee of the Jeanne Johnson Famine Ship Committee and the Trenton and Hamilton Parade Committees. He is a member of the Friendly Sons and Daughters of Mercer County, and was the 2006 Friendly Son.
O’Reilly lives in Mercerville with his wife of 45 years, Jane, and enjoys spending time fishing and boating in Sea Isle City with his sons Tom, Mike and Brian, his daughter -in -laws April, Lindsay and Melanie and grandsons Braden, Colin and Logan.
O’Reilly and Jane have visited Ireland several times, and recently attended the O’Reilly Clan gathering in County Caven, Ireland, as well as visited his family roots in Westmeath and Limerick.
For more information, go online to hamiltonparade.com.