Chicopee – The Chicopee St. Patrick’s Parade Committee has awarded the 2014 Jack Woods Award to Daniel T. O’Reilly. Named after one of the founding members of the committee, the award recognizes an individual who has served ten or more years on the Committee and assisted on many subcommittees.
An active member of the Parade Committee since 1997, and despite pledging, then, to “help out only where and when needed”, O’Reilly contributed to the building of many award-winning Colleen floats, co-chaired a very successful series of “Pub Nights”, and served two non-consecutive, multi-year terms, as secretary. He has been an influential member of the Committee, encouraging the creation and establishment of new traditions, while also stressing the need to maintain existing ones, reminding new members that “we stand on the shoulders of, and the foundations built by, those who came before us in the group’s 60 year history.”
O’Reilly hails from New York City, the son of the late Mrs. Veronica (nee Heney) O’Reilly and Mr. James P. O’Reilly. He is the youngest of four siblings, with sister Kathryn Saverin, brother Kevin O’Reilly, and sister Maureen O’Reilly. A graduate of Archbishop Molloy H.S. in Queens, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Economics at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus. With Elin A. Gaynor, Esq., he relocated to western Massachusetts, where they raised four children, now young adults of whom he is very proud.
From a very young age, O’Reilly has always displayed a passion for volunteer work, assuming leadership roles in the Boy Scouts and in various neighborhood organizations in NYC. As a student, he personally registered over 400 new voters through the NYC League of Women Voters, and volunteered as team manager for his school baseball team, which won the 1977 NYC Catholic High School Athletic Association City Championship (30-10).
Once in western Massachusetts, he assisted Holy Name School in Chicopee with school and church projects, serving on the school board, and joined a local sports team, Bill’s Bar, to play softball and basketball. He shared his passion for basketball with area youth, coaching teams for Dana Area Recreation Association, Tiger’s Athletic Club, Aldenville Junior Athletic Club (AJAC), and Knights of Columbus. He served as newsletter editor for the Meadow Green Apartments Tenant’s Association, was honored as both Knight of the Month and Family of the Year, with Elder Council 69 Knights of Columbus. Advancing through the officer chairs, O’Reilly served the Knights as Grand Knight in the fraternal year 2004-2005. For many years he has co-chaired the popular Annual Family and Friends Picnic, and has also assisted the Matras family, as they raised tens of thousands of dollars for Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen. He served the community as volunteer recruiter and organizer for the first five years of the successful Chicopee “Fest-of All”, an annual summer “stay-cation” event.
Adhering to his high school’s motto ” Non scholae, sed Vitae” ( Not for school, but for LIFE), O’Reilly brings to his workplace the same enthusiasm, hard work, and passion he displays as a volunteer. He is presently in his 27th year as Student Activities and Campus Events Coordinator at the University of Connecticut’s Greater Hartford Campus, helping establish and sustain community, through Student Government and Club activities, at a 1200-plus student commuter campus.
O’Reilly is honored to receive this recognition, and is happy to join in the long line of Woods Award winners for the Chicopee St. Patrick’s Parade Committee. He hopes for another great turnout of family, friends and neighbors on Parade Day – March 23, 2014 – and asks that all cite the traditional Parade Committee prayer: “No snow on Parade Day!”. He looks forward to once again marching with his family: son Matthew and his wife Elise, and grandson Abraham; son Keenan; and daughters Kerry Lynn and Anne Marie.
The Chicopee St. Patrick’s Parade Committee is celebrating its 60th year serving the community. For more information about its upcoming events which will honor O’Reilly and all award recipients, the Colleen Ball, and other activities, log on to http://www.chicopeespc.com . Applications for the 2014 Colleen Contest will be posted on the website as soon as they become available.