Lion Kevin O’Neill Named Parade Grand Marshal for Allentown Lions Pride
Allentown, New Jersey – The anticipation for the upcoming 2023 Allentown Lions Club Memorial Day Parade lies with one of the most dedicated and selfless citizens of the historic borough: Lion Kevin O’Neill. With a vast array of achievements in the community, Lion O’Neill’s appointment as Parade Grand Marshal has been well-deserved by his unwavering commitment to Allentown.
An honor that is only extended to a person who has served the community in one way or another for years and even decades, according to Parade Chair, Rob Schmitt, selecting a candidate among many proved to be not an easy task. The committee looks at a combination of military and community service, including service organizations such as the Lions Club or someone who volunteers with the ambulance squad, fire company, and has coached kids for many years, amongst other things that enhance the borough.
With Kevin O’Neill’s 25 years as a Lion, 37 years of membership with the Knights of Columbus, 38 years in American Legion Post #31, 10 years’ experience with the Hope Fire Co. and a plethora of other notable contributions, Mr. Schmitt states that “all things considered, Kevin kind of fits the bill.” It is clear to many that Kevin’s efforts within the community speak volumes about his character.
O’Neill’s love for outdoor activities and high adventure came into play during his time with the Boy Scout Troop 180a. Through O’Neill’s BSA Assistant Scoutmaster training courses, he was able to double the size of the troop by introducing the outdoor adventure component, which not only served as an inspiration to the youth, but also gave Kevin an opportunity to make a difference in Allentown.
Having served in the U.S. Navy (Corpsman) from 1973-1977, Kevin’s enthusiasm for serving his beloved United States of America saw him volunteer for the FMF advanced training that would have made him work with the U.S. Marine Corps on the Vietnam war battlefronts. His passion for service could not come to fruition when hostilities ended at the same time as his training. He served instead as a Hospital Corpsman at the Naval Hospital in Orlando, Fl., where he also became a licensed EMT, and at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia working in the field of Neuropsychology.
Kevin earned his BA from Rutgers University in 1980, a MSW at the University of Pennsylvania in 1982, a second M.A. in Administration from Rider University in 1989, and currently works as the Senior Employee Assistance Professional for New Jersey Transit, while also rendering his services as a therapist at Main Street Counseling for the past 3 years. At 63, Kevin O’Neill’s commitment to service remains unwavering.
Allentown Lion’s Club President, Chuck Tkachuk, affirms that Lion Kevin perfectly embodies the Lions’ mission to “serve others wherever they are needed” and that “It’s that simple.” Kevin is known for his kindness, profound faith, and his lifelong exemplification of high ideals of leadership, personal integrity, friendship, and service to others. Kevin’s appointment ensures that this year’s parade promises to be as notable as the other ones. The parade is set to take place on Monday, May 29, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. sharp, starting from the corner of Allen Drive & Main Street in the borough, turning left up High Street, and ending at the lower Newell Elementary School Parking lot on High Street/Rt. 539.
Following the parade, there will be the Memorial Service for the Gallant Fallen at the War Memorial located at the upper parking lot of Newell Elementary, in the Borough. The Allentown Lions Club encourages everyone to participate and honor those who died serving the nation. For more information, please contact Memorial Day Parade Chair Rob Schmitt at [email protected] or by phone at 609-364-0176.