On the Road Again!
By Zulay Carrillo on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012
When we met Jim O’Reilly during the last week of July, he was wrapping up what seemed to him to be a never-ending birthday, given that many of his friends in Lydonsville, Vermont kept offering birthday greetings days before and after the actual date.
He shared however, that his biggest present this year came back in June.
That’s when his son Sean, a soon-to-be graduate of Marquette University, called to wish him a Happy Fathers Day. That wasn’t all. Sean – one of Jim’s eight children and the youngest of five sons – also informed his dad he had just submitted his application to serve in the Peace Corps.
“I had no idea it was happening…” Jim paused, smiled slightly and added, “as was probably the case when I told my parents.” Having served as a bridge engineer in the districts of Bajura, Humla and Jumla in western Nepal, Jim’s reaction to his son’s announcement was not unexpected. “It made for a wonderful Father’s Day.”
Since 1985, Jim and his wife Mary have owned and operated the family friendly Wildflower Inn, nestled in Vermont’s magical Northeast Kingdom. A member of the National Peace Corps Association, links to Jim’s Peace Corps past can be found at the Inn. Copies of WorldView magazine are prominent in the main lounge area. And one can’t help but notice the Peace Corps/Nepal decal on the Inn’s front door. It’s a reminder of another Peace Corps gift – that of lifelong friendship and reunion.
Back in 2010, Jim got a call out of the blue from fellow Nepal 57 RPCV Dan Jenkins. The conversation about Peace Corps memories got Dan and Jim thinking about a reunion. And with a lull in business after Labor Day and the ability to put up lots of people at the Inn, the two RPCVs got to work trying to locate all 22 members of their group. Using NPCA’s social network, as well as Facebook and other online resources, they connected with 20 of their colleagues. Eleven were able to come, as well as three RPCVs who trained the group and several others with Peace Corps in their background.
That gathering led to another discussion: the possibility of returning to Nepal and conducting an assessment of the bridge and water projects they assisted with more than 30 years ago. While such a trip is yet to materialize, Jim O’Reilly wouldn’t rule it out. For one thing, Peace Corps is returning to Nepal. And then there’s the fact that one of his other sons and grandchildren are currently living in nearby Qatar. “I’ve always wanted to get back (to Nepal). Now I have an extra reason to do that.”
Follow this link to learn more about Jim O’Reilly and the Wild Flower Inn, located in Lyndonville Vermont. RPCVs receive a 50% discount!
Our summer advocacy travels through the eastern United States. Follow this link for upcoming stops.