U.S. Army veteran named 2020 Hillsborough grand marshal

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Hillsborough resident Thomas Cellilli, Jr., an Army veteran has been named Hillsborough Township’s grand marshal for 2020.

“Yes, we are still naming a grand marshal for 2020 and Mr. Cellilli will carry over as grand marshal of the 2021 Memorial Day Parade,” Mayor Doug Tomson said during a previous committee meeting. “Planning for the event started before COVID-19 and typically we announce the grand marshal in late April or early May. I realize it seems confusing that we are announcing the cancellation of the event but still announcing a grand marshal. Mr. Cellilli was selected before the pandemic caused the cancellation of public events and we felt it still appropriate to honor him despite the event not happening this year. Mr. Cellilli will represent the township for the remainder of the year as restrictions are lifted.”

Cellilli was born in Ludlow, Massachusetts, and has been a 40-year Hillsborough resident with his wife of 52 years, Philomena. They have two sons, four grandsons, two granddaughters and a great granddaughter, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Cellilli enlisted in the Army during the Vietnam Conflict and he completed basic training at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. He attained the rank of E-5 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service Overseas while managing the Classified Message Center and the highly classified Operation Command Post in the Sky, according to the statement.

Cellilli is a lifetime member of VFW Post 8371 and has served as a trustee and post adjutant and currently holds the position of post commander since 2018. Cellilli also holds posts, volunteers or is involved with the VFW District 15 senior command staff, the Somerville NJ Disabled American Vets Chapter 16, committees in Hillsborough Township, Mary Mother of God R.C. Church and UNICO Service Organization Membership.

Cellilli began his career in the private sector at Allstate Insurance Company as a licensed sales representative and progressed to managing various New Jersey claims offices. He went on to create the first Allstate Underwriting Fraud Investigation Unit in the country and served on various state boards with regards to insurance fraud prevention. Cellilli was also the chief operating officer of both Penn Executive Diagnostic Center Inc. and Pattern Analysis Inc. and has also volunteered for pro bono work for the New Jersey Special Investigators Association, according to the statement.

While municipal services are operational, despite the building being closed to the public, many programs and events are being canceled. For up-to-date information on cancellations, visit www.hillsborough-nj.org.