Irish heritage group to honor Maplewood native at WO dinner

Thomas Wester

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of the Oranges recently announced that Maplewood native Thomas M. Wester will be honored as its 2017 Young Irishman of the Year during its 116th anniversary dinner on Thursday, March 16, at Mayfair Farms, 481 Eagle Rock Ave. in West Orange. This honor has been bestowed upon past distinguished individuals such as Gov. Brendan Byrne in 1951, Gov. Richard J. Codey 1979 and Assemblyman John F. McKeon in 1993. Additionally, Phil Murphy, former U.S. ambassador to Germany and current N.J. gubernatorial candidate, will serve as guest speaker.

The evening will commence with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail hour, followed by dinner and the event program beginning promptly at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to this gentlemen-only, black-tie-preferred event are charged. Reservations can be obtained by contacting Patricia Cambouris at 973-422-2974 or

“We are pleased to name Thomas as our 2017 Young Irishman of Year,” Friendly Sons President Owen V. McNany said in a press release. “Our distinguished board of trustees looks to honor an individual with strong Irish roots who has made a significant impact in his career, community and beyond. We are also happy to have Phil Murphy join the dais as our guest speaker. Both have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Irish-American community. We look forward to celebrating the 116th anniversary honoring our Irish heritage.”

Wester is currently an associate attorney at Connell Foley in Roseland. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, he served as a law clerk to Essex County Judge Thomas R. Vena. While earning his J.D. at Seton Hall University, he served as an editor of the Seton Hall Law Review, served as a legal intern for the Center for Social Justice Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic, was a member of the Seton Hall Law Mentor Program and interned for Judge Jose L. Linares. His roots trace back to Cork and Kerry, though he grew up in Maplewood and currently resides in Hoboken.

A portion of the proceeds from the dinner will be donated to Project Children, which brings together Catholic and Protestant children from Northern Ireland on visits to the United States and to the Irish Way Program of the Irish American Cultural Institute, which awards scholarships to Irish American high school students for summer study in Ireland.