Pantoliano leads Kiwanis into new year

The Wilton Kiwanis Club held its annual installation luncheon Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the Wilton Episcopal/Presbyterian Church Complex as incoming president Nancy Pantoliano took the lead of the civic organization.

Ms. Pantoliano succeeds Stephen Reedy, who thanked the assembled members and guests for their support.

“There hasn’t been a finer organization to be with,” Mr. Reedy said. “We have a great presence. I can tell you we are a very active club with a great ethic of service. We’ve done tremendous work for over 50 years, and have an effect on the community.”

Before stepping away, he addressed the future of the Wilton Kiwanis.

“We have a great future,” he said. Addressing Ms. Pantoliano, he added, “Nancy, your leadership is great.

“It’s been really good for me, and I hope it’s been good for you.”

Ray Moskow served as master of ceremonies for the installation, and kept his sense of humor at the forefront, pulling a small stepstool from under the podium so he could be seen standing behind it. The move produced a large laugh from the audience.

“The theme of the day is ‘step up,’” he said.

“The essence of an organization is the people,” he added. “This is the day we pass the baton.”

Among the many charitable events Kiwanians participate in was the recently completed golf tournament. Jeff Turner was lauded for his work to put together a tournament that was considered to be very successful.

The swift-moving program, following a buffet lunch, proceeded into the business of the day: installing the new officers.

“It’s a recognition day,” Mr. Moskow said. He will be one of the directors for the 2013-14 year, along with Dan Mahoney and Mr. Turner.

Also introduced to the crowd were Fred Wernig, who will be the club secretary, in addition to Judy Zucker, who is the assistant secretary. Mike Peterson will serve as the foundation treasurer. The club treasurer for the new year is Bill Brautigam, while the assistant club treasurers are Bob Tortorella and Melissa Mednick.

John Savarese stepped into the role of vice president.

“John has started his ascension into the leadership of the club,” Mr. Moskow said. “The vice president’s responsibility is to learn the club thoroughly, and to assist in the guidance and control of the club.”

Mr. Savarese told the audience that he considers himself new to Wilton, although he’s been here since 1998.

“We ended up here after looking at a lot of towns in the area, and I thought I had discovered all of the great things that would make this a great place to live,” he said. “Right under my nose was the vibrance and the life and the vitality of this great organization.”

Paul Hannah, who puts the luncheons together, is the president-elect. Quick with a line, Mr. Hannah elicited laughs from the audience when he asked if he could decline the installation instructions from Mr. Moskow.

“If you say no there are three others who are ready to stand up,” Mr. Moskow replied.

Remaining humble while drawing laughs, Mr. Hannah said that running for an office with the Kiwanis means not having to campaign. Turning serious, he addressed the future with Ms. Pantoliano as president.

“I’m looking forward to working with Nancy, as I assume she will say yes without hesitation,” he said. “We’ll try to make things better and bigger for this club.”

Finally, Ms. Pantoliano became president, but not before Mr. Reedy was installed as the immediate past president, ending his two-year run as president.

“Steve, you leave big footprints to fill,” Ms. Pantoliano said. “I’ve learned a lot from you. I’m hoping to learn more.”

After being handed her pin and gavel to recognize her as president, Ms. Pantoliano addressed the audience.

She said the support of others, not just from Mr. Reedy, but from club members and the community, is part of what makes Kiwanis such a worthwhile organization. She told a story from her youth that she believed served as a glimpse into her future as a volunteer.

“When I was in high school, I was in the Anchor Club. That was the sister club to the Key Club in the days when we didn’t intermingle,” she said. “So I guess I was preparing for this.”

Then she recalled joining the organization, and looked forward to what is next.

“Coming here and meeting all of you — dedicated people from all over town — it was a no-brainer.”

A new website,, will give them a stronger presence and a better vehicle for promotion of events and causes.

“I think all of the things that we do are so important,” Ms. Pantoliano said. “It’s a very exciting time for Kiwanis in our community.”

Based on the feeling the room, Kiwanians seemed to feel the club is in good hands.

“Nancy will make a great president,” member Don Drummond said.