Kiwanis names new leaders

It is a rite of passage for Wilton’s venerable Kiwanis Club to install new leadership in mid-October of each year. Now, entering its 64th year of service, altruism and camaraderie to the community, the club celebrates its new governance team. Taking the helm as president this year is the town’s former First Selectman Paul Hannah to be assisted by President-elect John Savarese and Vice President Rudy Hoefling.

Also elected this year were Ken Post as secretary, Bill Brautigam as treasurer and Michael Peterson as Kiwanis Club Foundation treasurer. Dan Mahony, Fred Wernig and Ray Moskow were returned as directors, as were Bob Tortorella as assistant treasurer and Judith Zucker as assistant secretary. The Kiwanis board is rounded out with members Frank Oliveri, John Kalamarides, Melissa Mednick, Don Drummond, Jerry Holdridge, and Jeff Turner.

Retiring President Nancy Pantoliano thanked the club at its Oct. 15 luncheon meeting for its support. Mr. Hannah addressed his plans to lead the club into a year of growth, energy and accomplishment. He cited the hard work of many Kiwanians and said he hoped many more Wilton people would hear the call and join.

“We have the commission and the capability to serve” he said, “and we will pursue our mission with renewed spirit and dedication.”

Kiwanis is the senior volunteer charitable organization in Wilton. Since its formation in 1951, it has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to nearly 100 causes of groups of individuals and organizations.

Mr. Hannah spoke of how the club continually needs an infusion of new members and added energy to sustain its service efforts.

“The club needs new people to step up, to volunteer and to give a little time to those in need,” he said. “One of our major thrusts this year will be to find Wiltonians who have a heart and mind for charitable giving, camaraderie and service to those less fortunate.”

The club’s membership committee “will be looking at innovative new member recruiting programs,” he added.

Its membership includes local business women and men, as well as a number of semi-retired and active retired individuals focused on service to others.

History

Early on, the club purchased 21 acres of land for the Wilton Family Y and Little League fields. A second purchase of land in 1961 was developed into Merwin Meadows.

Other major contributions have included:

  • An education room for Nursing and Home Care (now Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County).
  • A History Room for Wilton Library.
  • A significant donation to the creation of Wilton Commons.

Many club activities are “hands-on” service to others, such as 25 years of repairing homes of needy people as part of HomeFront, volunteer assistance to Ambler Farm, facility fix-up for the ABC Home, and the frequent gathering of food donations for the Wilton Interfaith Food Pantry.

Some of the club’s activities and fund raising is accomplished with local partners. The annual golf tournament, held for four years, has raised almost $100,000 for the Wilton Kiwanis Foundation and partners, including the Trackside Teen Center, the Wilton Youth Council, and Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

Partners working with Kiwanis on the annual citrus sale have included the High School Key Club, Joint Youth Ministries, the WHS wrestling team, and Grace Church.

In addition to many contributions locally, Wilton Kiwanis has joined with the Kiwanis International organization to support many causes, including a successful effort to eliminate iodine deficiency throughout the world.

Kiwanis meets each Wednesday for a catered luncheon at the WEPCO  complex. The meal is followed by speakers of popular interest from a wide variety of disciplines.

Interested individuals are encouraged to call 203-762-9951 or visit wiltonkiwanis.org.