COVID-19 Death of 47-year-old Toms River Hero Goes Viral
I woke up this morning to an alert of a former U.S. Marine, around my age, that had passed away from COVID-19. What made it even sadder was that he was someone that sanitized police vehicles to keep them clean of COVID-19 and was so well regarded for his generosity and community outreach.
Michael Reilly passed away last week at just 47-years-old at Community Medical Center after reportedly battling COVID-19. His story really hits home for me. He was only a few years older than I am, was a big sports fan (Yankees and Giants), was a husband, and had two small children; 8 years old and 4 years old. As a middle-aged man, a sports fan (Mets and Jets), a husband, and father of a 10-year-old and a 1-year-old; this mirrors a lot of me. It is also another example of how COVID-19 does not discriminate. My heart absolutely aches for his family and friends.
Michael owned SERVPRO in Toms River, was a member of the Ocean County Business Association, and a supporter of charitable organizations...but that only scratches the surface on who he actually was. As I read multiple alerts and articles about Michael, I learned about his generosity and helpful character.
Perhaps the most impactful evidence of Michael's generosity comes from the East Dover Fire Company's Facebook where they shared that Michael and SERVPRO stepped up after Superstorm Sandy after their building was flooded with 4-feet of water and "a few years later we were going through one of the hottest summers on record. We made a post requesting donations of drinking water. If anyone would like to donate water to us it would be greatly appreciated. This man had a pallet of water delivered not only to us, but to each fire company in Toms River and our Training center."
The Ocean County Sheriff's Facebook page released a statement and it described him as "one of those people that would give you the shirt off his back." They also shared that he assisted them in cleaning their vehicles during the pandemic. The Manchester Police's Facebook paid their respect too and shared that Michael had assisted in their decontamination efforts. "All township buildings, including the Police Department and EMS headquarters, as well as our vehicles, were kept safe for our employees thanks to the tremendous work of Michael's SERVPRO team."
Another example of Michael's generosity:
Michael was laid to rest at the Ocean County Memorial Park and his family has set up a tribute wall here.