SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Two individuals and one organization will be honored for their service to the community at the 29th annual Scotch Plains Mayor’s Charity Gala to be held on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, at Shackamaxon Country Club. This year’s gala will honor the following individuals for their selfless service to our community: Dr. Jim Checchio, Kelly Price, and Patrick's Downtown Race to Summer.

The Mayor's Gala features a cocktail reception with open bar, passed hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, and eclectic food stations, a dessert buffet and, back by popular demand, the hot chocolate bar. Members of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School's award-winning jazz band, The Moonglowers, and DJ Mike will provide entertainment for the evening.  

Tickets to the Mayor’s Charity Gala are still available and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling the Scotch Plains Recreation Department at 908-322-6700 x223. Tickets are $95.00 per person, and tables of 10 may be reserved.

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Male Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Jim Checchio
Dr. Jim Checchio is a life-long resident of Scotch Plains and gives countless hours of volunteer work to the Township every year. His parents, the late former Mayor Mauro Checchio and Portia Checchio, instilled the importance of giving back to the community and giving of oneself to Jim and his siblings. He has taken up the torch with the same dedication and enthusiasm as his parents. 

As a member of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains & Fanwood, Jim has spearheaded projects to improve the exterior grounds of the Osborn Cannonball Museum. He is currently overseeing restoration of the Tempe Bridge at the Frazee House with his son Luke and Boy Scout Troop 104. A member of the Frazee Foundation and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary, Jim has long been a supporter and volunteer in efforts to restore the house.

Jim is a member of the following committees: Historical Documentation, Historical Preservation and Preserve the Shady Rest. An active member of the First United Methodist Church, he and his children, Luke and Cara, are members of the Bell Choir. Jim and his wife Sharon, who have been together for 40 years, help lead children’s programs. 

Jim is a member of the Planning Board, a past member of the Zoning Board, and serves as the VP of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Alumni Association. Dr. Jim has also donated his chiropractic services at various sporting and other events. He lives by the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self."  

Female Volunteer of the Year: Kelly Price
A longtime resident of Scotch Plains, Kelly Price was employed for 30 years with AT&T. She started volunteering at age 12 with an older relative at a nursing home and later became a candy striper in a Hospital. She believes we need to guide our young to a positive path and keep our seasoned individuals stable and safe. She has been a volunteer for Big Brother/Sisters Mentoring Program and a tutor for the Adult Literacy Program of America.

Kelly serves as a member of Saint Bartholomew's Church Outreach Team and assists with the Community Food Bank, the annual Fish Fry, programs for veterans, youth ministry and Thanksgiving baskets. She also serves on the Scotch Plains Senior Advisory Committee and the Golden Agers Senior Group and is a member of the Union County Senior Citizens Council. Her main focus is on seniors who are not mobile or have given up their driving privileges and will pick up groceries or medication or simply pick up another senior for shopping.  Kelly also volunteers weekly for the Union County Nutrition Program and helps to prepare and serve seniors lunch at the Shady Rest Clubhouse.

Kelly Price is an active member of two Inter-Tribal Councils for the betterment of Native Americans and is a Life Member of the Scotch Plains/ Plainfield Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc., having served as President and First Vice President. She is also the co-chair of the State of New Jersey’s Recognition Program, which provides educational, health and financial programs, and food and clothing to the community.

Volunteer Organization of the Year: Patrick’s Downtown Race to Summer Committee
The annual Patrick's Downtown Race to Summer was started by a group of local runners who wanted to see a great event downtown for the betterment of the downtown. The family friendly road race and party was named for Patrick J. Allocca. This year's charitable recipient was the light display at the Alan Augustine Green downtown.

Additionally at the event, Weston Fischer, Kyle Brainard, and Max LeBrun will be honored for their efforts as peer leaders with the Wolves Basketball Academy. Weston, Kyle and Max ensure that children with special needs have an amazing experience at every game. They don’t care about the score, only about providing everlasting memories for the kids! Wolves Basketball Academy provides a friendly and fun environment for children with special needs to learn the fundamentals of basketball as well as play on a team. 

 Male Volunteer of the Year and Female Volunteer of The Year

  • 1991: Harold Hill Jr.,  Rebecca O’Connor
  • 1992: John V. Corona, Dianne Ledder
  • 1993: Admiral George Reider, Eleanor B. Kramps
  • 1994: Donald Wussler, Violet Debbie
  • 1995: Edward Evans, Caroline A. Perkins
  • 1996: James J. Novak, Kathleen L. Meyer
  • 1997: Harry “Skip” Ungar, Barbara Roskin
  • 1998: Joseph Duff, Gail Moser
  • 1999: Norman F. Bendel, Virginia (Ginger) Rachko
  • 2000: Mayors of the 20th Century
  • 2001: James Walsh, Judy Dillon & Joan Lozowski
  • 2002: Carol Kraus, Anthony Giannaci
  • 2003: Laura Swidersky, Steve Goldberg
  • 2004: Joseph McCourt, Carol Parks Clancy
  • 2005: Richard Bousquet, Jeanette Rotella
  • 2006: Tom Paterson, Sharon Machrone
  • 2007: William Degnan, Mari McDevitt
  • 2008: Robert Kraus, Patricia Kane
  • 2009: Tom Russo, Mary Ball Cappio
  • 2010: Michael Walsh, Lisa Mohn
  • 2011: 9/11 Memorial Volunteers
  • 2012: Ed Zazzali, Grace Cheney
  • 2015: John Lestarchick, Marie Leppert
  • 2016 Ralph Checchio, Janet Blaes
  • 2017 Vincent Losavio, Paulette Coronato
  • 2018 Scotch Plains Police Foundation  Firefighters Association, and Rescue Squad
  • 2019: Jim Checchio, Kelly Price is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily local news source. Sign up for our free daily eNewsletter and “Like” us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.