WEST ORANGE / MILLBURN, NJ — The Harrison Avenue Tavern is hosting a “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” event on Saturday, Sept. 16, to support the family of Sean Cassels, a Millburn police officer and West Orange resident who died last year. The event will feature a barbecue and live music from bands Rocker Box and Gael Force from 2 to 9 p.m. Ticket proceeds will go to the Cassels Family Trust, which benefits Cassels’ three sons, Michael, Patrick and Jameson, and his wife Jessica.
Sean Cassels was a lifelong resident of West Orange and a police officer in town until 2011, before he became a part of the police force in Millburn and a member of the Millburn PBA Local 34.
“We lost a great brother last night in the Millburn family,” the Millburn PBA said in a statement at the time of his death. “Sean was a kind, gentle, fun-loving guy who would go leaps and bounds for his friends and his family. You will always be missed and never forgotten.”
A graduate of Seton Hall Prep and Montclair State University, where he majored in business, Cassels worked for Harrison Avenue Tavern owner Vincent Henrich during his college years.
“He worked for me for five years when he was in college,” Henrich told the West Orange Chronicle in a phone interview on Aug. 31. “He was a really good kid. He has an unbelievable family, and the bottom line is I just want to help them out.”
Henrich knew Sean Cassels for 23 years, and wanted to put on an event that would raise money for the trust fund that was set up for his children.
“He was my friend, first of all,” Henrich said. “And I have two sons. I just want to help the boys and his wife out. There’s so much positive support in this neighborhood, and he would love that. We have two bands playing. They’re Irish rock festival music and they’re fantastic.
The main focus of the day is to support Cassels’ family, Henrich said. There is a fee for tickets to the event, which includes a barbecue and live music from Gael Force, an Irish rock band, and Rocker Box, which plays classic rock ‘n’ roll. The music keeps along with the theme of the night, “halfway to St. Patrick’s Day.”
Members of the Millburn Police Department and the West Orange Police Athletic League, with which Cassels was involved until his death, will be at the fundraiser as well; both donated food for the event.
“Being a police officer was the best job for him because he could really help the public,” Joe Naporano, a friend of Cassels, told the West Orange Chronicle in an interview last year. “Even growing up, he was the guy in the neighborhood who would shovel the sidewalks and driveways for other people, without them asking.”
“Everything will be donated to the trust fund,” Henrich said. “This is a great town for something like this, and everyone can come. Families can bring kids; everyone is welcome.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased any time before the event on Sept. 16, at the Harrison Avenue Tavern, at 36 Harrison Avenue. They will also be sold at the door.