The 65th West Orange St. Patrick's Day Parade
Sunday, March 13, 2016 ~ Step-Off 12:15
Main Street & Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Morning Mass at 9:15am St. Joseph's Church, Benvenue Avenue, West Orange, NJ
Maureen O’Hara was born in Orange New Jersey in 1964; she is the oldest child of Michael and Margaret (Guiney) O’Hara. Maureen traces her Irish Heritage back to the Counties of Leitrim, Derry, Limerick and Dublin. She is the oldest of four siblings Kathleen, Stephanie (Michael) and Michael (Melanie.) Maureen attended St. Joseph’s Grammar school in West Orange and went on to High School at St. Elizabeth’s in Convent Station and Graduated Mt. St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg Md. in 1986 with a degree in Business and Finance. Upon graduating College she started her career in Banking at First Fidelity Bank in Newark. The past 14 years she has worked at Wells Fargo Bank as a Principal Relationship Manager in Business Banking.
Maureen joined the West Orange Parade Committee 24 years ago while President of the Frank O’Hara Association. In 1994 she was elected Corresponding Secretary and held that position for three years moving to Vice Chairman in 1997, 1998 and 2015. Maureen then served as Chairman for a record six years, 1999-2001 and 2004-2006. Subsequent to serving as Chairman she was on the Finance Committee 2007-2008 and served as Trustee from 2009-2014. In 1995 she served as the Chief of Staff for Joe Brennan who was Grand Marshal. For the past 10 years while on the Parade Committee Maureen has enjoyed her stint working with John McKeon and The West Orange High School Students to co-Anchor the Parade for TV-36.
While Maureen has spent the past 24 years as a member of the Parade Committee she has been active in her Community personally and through her job. She was a Board Member of the Newark Regional Business Partnership, is an Advisory Board member of St. Vincent’s Academy in Newark, A Mentor for Rutgers WINGS Program a Past Democratic Committee Member in West Orange and Past Treasurer to Mayor Robert Parisi. In 2007 she was named Irishwoman of the year by the Brian Boru Association.
Brian was born in Orange, New Jersey to Susan Quigley Aker and Allan “Sweet AJ” Aker. He is proud of his Irish heritage which emanates from his great grandparents. Brian’s grandfather George Quigley’s family hails from County Roscommon and Grandmother Loretta Ryan Quigley’s family is from County Galway. Brian was raised in a n Irish Catholic household in West Orange and resided there for 34 years. Growing up in West Orange and being the youngest of five siblings has provided him with a lot of wonderful memories. As a child Brian spent many hours in Quigley’s Barber Shop sweeping the floors for his grandfather Georgie, or in West Essex Jewelers befriending the customers, or at Our Lady of Lourdes Church serving Mass. He was educated in the West Orange School System and was a member of the WOHS graduating class of 1990. He spent several summers working for the West Orange Department of Recreation.
After graduation, Brian entered Newark’s Plumber’s Union Local 24. In 1995, he completed his apprenticeship and began working as a journeyman. In 1996, Brian was appointed to the West Orange Fire Department. Three years ago he was promoted to the rank of Captain. Brian is a second generation member of the West Orange Fire Department. His father Al, is a retired Deputy Chief after 34 years of service. Brian is an active past member of Local 28, serving as Vice President and Delegate, and current member of Local 228, serving as Delegate. In August 2003, Brian married Eileen Cassels. They reside in Whippany with their three sons. Brian enjoys helping coach with the Hanover Tigers Football Program, the Devils Youth Hockey Club, and the Hanover Storm Hockey Club. Presently, Captain Aker is a member of the Essex County Emerald Society and the Irish American Society of the Oranges. He serves as Director of the West Orange Municipal Credit Union and as a life member of the West Orange Relief Association.
John Kevin McElroy was born in Orange, New Jersey in 1957; the son of Margaret (Raftery) and Philip Joseph McElroy, III. John’s Irish heritage is traced back to Counties Roscommon and Claire. John is one of eight children; 4 brothers- Philip Joseph IV, Timothy, Patrick and Brian and 3 sisters- Eileen, Theresa and Mary. John attended Our Lady of Lourdes grammar school and continued through the West Orange School system graduating from Mountain High School in 1975. After an honorable discharge from the US Air Force John entered the automotive field.
John married Renee Perrello in 1985 and they raised two wonderful daughters, Meagan and Lauren. Together they started Select Towing and Auto Repair in 1984 and although she has passed her inspiration in the business is relevant daily. John continues to operate his business today in Downtown West Orange.
John has attended many secondary education courses and has obtained most of the available certifications available in his industry. He spearheaded key legislation in the Towing Industry and aided in the creation of National Driver Certification for Tow Truck Drivers becoming the second driver in New Jersey to reach the highest expert level available in his field.
Through the years he has been involved in many organizations supporting his trade and community serving on boards and as President and Chairman of many of those groups. He is a past Executive Board Member and President of the Garden State Towing Association and has held committee positions in the Towing and Recovery Association of America as well. John worked as a volunteer with the West Orange First Aid Squad. He has also spent many years volunteering at Saint John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark. He was recently appointed to a Trustee position at the Soup Kitchen and serves on the finance council. John currently serves as Chairman of the Downtown West Orange Alliance for the last seven years and is also a board member for the West Orange Community House.