Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal

Michael Reilly (Class of 1977) was a hero who lost his life while providing  emergency service to the Patchogue -Medford community. On the evening of December 21, 1980, Michael was home on leave from the U.S. Coast Guard posting in Cape May, New Jersey. He was assisting his father, Edward J. Reilly, then Patchogue’s fire chief, in chauffeuring Santa Claus around the village, playing holiday music and spreading good cheer. When they returned to the firehouse an ambulance call came in, seeking assistance for a  gunshot victim. Michael, who was a trained Emergency Medical Technician, went along on the call. On the way to Brookhaven Hospital, the ambulance was accidentally impeded by an accompanying police car and crashed into a utility pole. The gunshot victim and four other emergency responders in the ambulance received only slight injuries. But Michael’s injuries were fatal. He lost his life on December 23, 1980.

After his death, Michael  was  awarded  the  Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal   and   the Lt. Robert A. Perchard   Memorial Trophy.  The  Patchogue Fire Department posthumously   recognized Michael with its  Medal of Valor.  He was named the honorary Captain of the Euclid Hose Company of the department , the first person ever to receive that honor. The Jayne-Lattin Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars named hime Fireman of the Year. Patchogue’s Fire Department initiated a Michael Reilly Memorial Plaque to be maintained at their headquarters. Fireman’s Park on the shore of the Great South Bay in Patchogue was renamed the Michael Reilly Memorial Park. An Annual Scholarship was established for the Patchogue-Medford High School student studying electronics, Michael’s favorite subject.