Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick President Matthew Meade recently announced Kevin O’Brien will be recognized as Man of the Year when the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick gather Tuesday, March 17, for their 106th annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet. Jack Meade has been named general chairman of the event. Tickets for the banquet may be purchased from any active member of the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick or at the Knights of Columbus on Main Street in Pittston every Thursday night until the night of the banquet. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Kevin J. O’Brien Sr.
Kevin J. O’Brien Sr. was born and raised in Avoca and is the son of the late Michael J., who served as Friendly Sons president in 1963, and Mary Moore O’Brien. He is a graduate of Pittston Area High School, Class of 1974, and attended Luzerne County Community College, majoring in fire science technology. O’Brien, of Duryea, has a son Kevin Jr.
O’Brien is a past president of the Friendly Sons, having served in 1989 for the 75th anniversary of the organization, when the Friendly Sons Scholarship was established. His family was an original donor to the program.
He is a life member of the Avoca Volunteer Fire Department, having served with the department for the past 45 years. During his career in the fire service, he became a Pennsylvania State Fire Academy instructor, conducting fire training programs throughout the commonwealth. In 2011, he was awarded the title of instructor emeritus from the academy.
He began his career in public safety in 1978, becoming a radio operator/dispatcher with Luzerne County Civil Defense, and after 27 years, was deputy director of Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency. During those years, he was responsible for planning, training and response to all natural and man made disasters throughout Luzerne County. He concluded his career with Luzerne Country as a lead crash/rescue fire fighter at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. He retired from Luzerne County after 30 years of service.
Aside from the volunteer fire service and full-time employment with Emergency Management, he also worked part time for Pocono Raceway starting in 1985 as a pit road fireman and eventually became fire chief at the facility, which becomes the third largest city in Pennsylvania during NASCAR events. He served as a NASCAR Advanced Training Program Instructor and also as a member of the NASCAR Safety Standards and Training Committees. In 2013, he received the NASCAR Excellence in Track Services Award from the NASCAR Track Services Division.
O’Brien is a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 372 and the Fourth Degree Assembly and serves on the board of directors of the Knights Home Association. He also is a member of the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority Board of Directors.
Jack Meade is general chairman for the 106th annual dinner. He is a lifelong Northeast Pennsylvania resident, who was born in Avoca, raised in Moosic, and residing in Jenkin Twp. for the past 40 years. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School, Avoca, and graduated from Cathedral High School, Scranton. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and business from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre.
Meade has a vast work experience including as a machinist, engineer, plant manager, associate professor of math, and currently is a sales representative for A&M Industrial.
He and his wife, the former Staton Monk, of Avoca, have been married for 45 years. They have two daughters, Mrs. Joseph (Jenny) Long, Mrs. Keith (Jamie) Anushko, and a son, Matthew, who is serving as Friendly Sons president this year. The couple also has four grandchildren, Joseph, Jack and Julia Long and Sophie Anushko.