MONTVILLE, NJ – The members of the Kiwanis Club of Montville gathered in-person for the first time (after months of Zoom meetings) on the open-air balcony of Rails Steakhouse in Towaco Sept. 9 to celebrate their 42nd annual installation of club officers. The Montville Kiwanians were joined by NJ Kiwanis Lt. Governor (Division 9) Frank Cahill of Parsippany, who presided over the swearing in of club officers and directors.

Michael King was sworn in as the new president of Montville Kiwanis. King and his wife, Eileen, are long-time Kiwanis members and past presidents of the club. In his last term as president, King oversaw one of the most financially successful years in Montville Kiwanis history. His fellow Kiwanians have put their trust in him to lead the organization in a world that has changed drastically over the past few months. In his first speech as acting president, King expressed his optimism for the future, and expressed that his focus as president will be on membership and growth. He is joined by Allen Barnett as club vice president, Samantha Massenzio as club secretary, Ladis Karkowsky as club treasurer, and Charles Grau as club assistant treasurer.

Christine Tao Cheung, Kiwanis member and liaison to the Montville Township High School Key Club, was also sworn in as the newest member of the Montville Kiwanis Board of Directors. The club’s board of directors is responsible for overseeing the administration of the club and setting long-term policies and goals. Past president Doug Cooper was also installed as a director, joining sitting directors Deane Driscoll, Larry Hines, Joe O’Dowd, and Thomas Mazzaccaro.

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A special award was also presented to the volunteers of the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry for their efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In breaking from tradition, outgoing President Michael Johnson awarded the mantle “Kiwanian of the Year” to the “volunteers, captains, and leadership committee of the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry” for their extraordinary efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. While adapting to local and state regulations, the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry extended its hours of operation and increased efforts to provide free distributions to pantry visitors, regardless of residency. The Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry also provided more than $10,000 in ShopRite gift cards to local families who qualify for free lunch through the public schools over the course of the summer. These efforts to assist everyone displaced by the global pandemic would not have been possible without the selfless devotion of the pantry’s volunteers and the generous support of the Montville Township community.

Johnson, in his farewell address, reflected on his past three years as president and thanked his fellow Kiwanians for giving him his start – all the way back in middle school. As a student at Lazar middle school, Johnson was a member of the Builder's Club, a youth chapter sponsored by Montville Kiwanis through Kiwanis International. He continued to participate in the Kiwanis family of service organizations in high school and college, and was formally installed as a Kiwanis member after returning to Montville in 2013. He then served as club vice president for three years before being installed as president in 2017. Johnson expressed his gratitude to Montville Kiwanis for helping him branch out to the many municipal and volunteer organizations he's become associated with over the years, and noted that his most memorable Kiwanis experience has been serving alongside his father, retired Montville Police Lt. David Johnson.

Montville Kiwanis is responsible for local projects such as Adopt-A-Hydrant, the annual Fishing Derby organized in conjunction with the Montville Recreation Department and local PBA, holiday caroling at local senior centers, its annual “Taste of Montville,” and the sponsorship of the Montville Township High School Key Club. 

“Our club believes in children and wants to provide all kids with an opportunity to thrive, prosper and grow,” said President Michael King.

The Kiwanis Club of Montville, www.montvillekiwanis.org, welcomes new members who want to serve their community. Information about becoming a member is available by emailing KiwanisofMontville@Gmail.com.

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About Kiwanis International

Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, K-Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, annually dedicate more than 18.5 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 558,000 adult and youth members 82 nations and geographic areas. Visit www.kiwanis.org for more information.  

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