MONTVILLE, NJ – Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney, Dr. Karen Cortellino, and Cantor Menachem Toren were honored by the Patriots’ Path Council of the Boy Scouts at a dinner held on Oct. 11, bestowing the Good Scout Award on each.
Cooney is Montville Township Deputy Mayor, Cortellino is a member and past president of the Montville Township Board of Education, and Toren is the cantor for Pine Brook Jewish Center in Montville.
“We chose these three dignitaries because they have demonstrated the qualities of the Scout oath and have donated a significant amount of time to developing the youth in Montville,” said event co-chair Daria Senaldi.
You may know that Scouts are supposed to always “be prepared,” but the formal “Scout Oath” states, “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
Cooney is a life-long resident of Montville Township, where he served as a police officer but has since retired. He served on the Board of Education for 15 years and the Drug Awareness Council for 12 years. He was a president and still serves on the First Aid Squad. He is an advisor for Police Explorer Post 805, who, with three Boy Scouts presented the colors at the awards dinner.
“Montville is my heart and soul – I was born and raised here,” Cooney told attendees at the dinner. “I am very honored by this award. I’m proud to be wearing a pin as the mentor for my nephew, Michael Cooney, who is an Eagle Scout, and he will be graduating in eight weeks from the police academy to become a Montville Township police officer. The Montville Township Police Explorers post that I started and advised is still running strong and I look forward to helping them with anything they need.”
Cooney is also a realtor at Century 21 The Crossing and the owner of Metro Pet Supply.
Dr. Karen Cortellino
Cortellino was born in Queens, NY and was spotlighted in this TAP article: spotlight . She has lived in Montville Township for 33 years. She is lead radiologist at the Pink Breast Center, where she specializes in breast imaging and intervention. She has served on the Board of Education for 11 years, and as president for six of those years. She has earned the designation of Certified Board Leader, the highest level of individual certification, through the New Jersey School Boards Association Board Member Academy.
Cortellino has been president of the Morris County School Boards Association since 2013. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Towaco Civic Association.
She is married to Joseph Pena, and has a daughter Vanessa, who is an attorney, and her son Alex is an Eagle Scout.
Cortellino thanked her family at the awards dinner, and her Board of Education colleagues, to whom she said, “Thank you for allowing me to be part of a hard-working, dedicated group of volunteers. Together we have done good work for the children of Montville.”
To her children, she said, “The truth is, you gave me the reason to give back. Were it not for the two of you, I would not be standing here tonight. I love you so much I wanted to be part of everything you did. This meant giving, volunteering and sometimes just being there. For you, Vanessa, it was dance, piano, and fencing. For you, Alex, it was history, theater and of course Boy Scouts. I cannot explain the positive influence Scouting has had on Alex’s life. The value system, character building, leadership training, and service helped ground Alex. Scouting was not always easy for him but, with the support and guidance of the many adult leaders who give tirelessly of their time and treasure, Alex succeeded.”
Cantor Menachem Toren
Toren was born in Israel, and discovered his love for God and his creations at an early age, according to the awards dinner program bio. A love for Judaism and cantorial prayer have been the fabric of the Toren family for generations. His paternal grandfather was a famed Jerusalem cantor, and now Toren is following in his footsteps.
Toren was the “Boy with the Kippa” on one of Israel’s most popular TV shows, “Rich-Ratch,” the program bio states. Toren has officiated at sacred Jewish services in both Israel and the United States.
Toren has been a part of the Pine Brook Jewish Center for 12 years, teaching and guiding members during Bar and Bat Mitzvah lessons, the children’s choir, and participating in the nursery school program, the bio in the program states.
Toren is married to Hadas, and they have three children: Daniel, who will graduate with honors from Rutgers University; Yuval, a senior at Montville Township High School; and Libby, who is a sophomore there. Yuval and Daniel were members of an Israeli Scout Troop that met in West Orange, the program states.
Toren told the assembly that the Scouts instilled a good education in children like him in Israel, and helped form the foundation of who he is today. He tries to instill those lessons, such as being a good person, in the children he works with, because of the madness of what they see on their phones, laptops and computers, he said. He thanked the council for the award and said he was humbled by it.