North Olmsted Community Council names Bryan O’Malley Citizen of the Year
NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio – Late last month Bryan P. O’Malley believed his wife, Ann, was throwing a party to celebrate a family anniversary.
Instead, the festivities were a ruse for the North Olmsted Community Council to surprise the town’s deputy legal director with the news that he had been named the 2021 Citizen of the Year.
“In the age-old tradition of community counseling, they would keep it from the honoree – and they did in this case,” said O’Malley, 59, laughing. “So my dear wife prepared a surprise party for me at the lodge.
“I was completely in the dark and caught off guard until the committee came and rang and brought the medallion and banner. My wife deserves a lot of credit. She conspired with the community council to keep it a secret. I am very honored to be the recipient this year.
North Olmsted Community Council Chairman David Furin said the Citizen of the Year award is a recognition of people who have contributed to the community.
“Citizen of the Year basically has three requirements and a few restrictions,” Furin said. “To be nominated you must be at least 18 years old, have lived in North Olmsted for at least five years and be a current resident.
“Second, the person must have contributed to the betterment of North Olmsted in at least two of the following areas: church, school, civic or recreation. Finally, the person must not have received monetary reimbursement for the cited contributions.
In a typical year, the North Olmsted Citizen of the Year recipient hosts a banquet and is celebrated in the reunion parade.
A resident of North Olmsted since 1989, O’Malley has a long history of civic engagement in the town, including volunteering at St. Richard’s Church and St. Clarence’s Church, as well as as a that dad from lunch to work in the kitchen during bingo.
“When our kids were at St. Richard, I joked that I had been nominated to be the Kindergarten Lunch Father since I was taller than most of them,” said O’Malley said. “We’ve done a lot for the parent club and fundraising.
“At St. Clarence Church, someone disclosed that I was an expert in deep fried chicken, so I found myself in the kitchen making Carnival and Emerald Ball dinners. My wife and I were busy and active.
Not only was he chairman of the North Olmsted Community Council in 2007 and 2008, he also helped organize Homecoming events, including bandstand entertainment and big tent activities.
“As the kids got older, I moved from the political arena to civic duties,” O’Malley said. “I saw that the community council was always in need of help. I started working on the carnival and this big tent idea. I said, ‘Why not have a big tent where everyone can gather and have a lot more fun?’ “
Bryan actively supports city initiatives and is a member of the arts commission. He is also president of the St. Edwards Legal Eagles Association and involved in Malachi House.
Other volunteer efforts involved sports with the sons of CYO certified O’Malley coaches, Sean, Ryan and Kevin.
“I was a basketball and soccer coach, although I had very little skill, especially basketball,” O’Malley said. “I was always eager to help wherever I could. “
The deputy legal director said that his being named Citizen of the Year is more than just a hope that more residents will get involved in the community.
“Not only did I want to be involved, but I wanted to lead the way,” O’Malley said. “So if you want to see something done, if you want to see something better, don’t pray for the potatoes, get a hoe.
“If you want to see your community thrive, then be part of the solution. “
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