Arts & Entertainment

South Plainfield’s Tom Cassio Named Elks' ‘Citizen of the Year’

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Tom Cassio, the South Plainfield Elks' 2017 Citizen of the Year Award recipient, with his wife and children.
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Tom Cassio, the South Plainfield Elks' 2017 Citizen of the Year Award recipient, with the lodge's Exulted Ruler Ray Horvath.
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SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Lifelong resident Tom Cassio was recently named a ‘Citizen of the Year’ by the South Plainfield Elks Lodge #2298. Cassio, who was nominated by Council President Derryck White, was one of 11 individuals honored at the fraternal organization’s 2017 Central District ‘Citizen of the Year’ dinner, which was hosted by the East Brunswick Elks and held on March 19.

“I was asked to recommend someone for this year’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ award and Tom's name immediately just came to mind,” said White, a member of the South Plainfield Elks himself.

According to www.njelks.org, each Elks lodge is encouraged to select a citizen who has contributed to improving the local community. While the individual does not need to be a member of the organization, they should be someone who has shown leadership in the community, has contributed voluntary service, and is recognized as being an all-around good citizen.

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“Each year, each lodge in the Central District picks a person they feel exemplifies charity and volunteerism,” said Dan Uken, trustee of the South Plainfield Elks #2298 and chairman of the Americanism Committee for the Elks’ Central District. “Those selected are the type of people who are always helping out and who are there when others need them.”

At last weekend’s dinner, Ray Horvath, Exulted Ruler of the South Plainfield Elks, presented Cassio with his award. Close to 200 people were in attendance, including Cassio’s parents and his wife Siobhan and sons Matthew and Daniel, as well as his brothers Chris and Greg and their families.

“I was surprised and, while I am honored, I don’t do what I do to be recognized. I am just doing what the Elks do but in other ways by giving back to the community,” said Cassio. “I am fortunate to work in the community I live in and have the ability to give back.”

Cassio has served as president and co-owner of Twin City Pharmacy & Surgical for past 10 years and, since January, has served as a member of the South Plainfield Board of Education. He has also served as safety trustee for the South Plainfield Junior Baseball Club (SPJBC) since 2009 and as a trustee on the South Plainfield High School Baseball Parents Association (SPHSBPA). Additionally, Cassio has co-directed the SPJBC Father’s Day Baseball Tournament for the past six years; is a member of South Plainfield High School Baseball Booster Club (SPHSBC); a recreation baseball manager since 2008; and a recreation basketball coach for the past nine years.

Cassio also managed both T-ball and teener ball at the rec level; worked in conjunction with Kevin Hughes, the borough’s recreation director, to help create the PAL’s travel basketball program; and served as a Travel Baseball coach for three years. He spearheaded funding efforts to bring SPJBC, its Woman’s Auxiliary and the borough council together to replace outdated and unsafe playground at the town’s Kenneth Avenue baseball complex in 2013. According to Cassio, many parents helped with installation, which saved the SPJBC $7,000 in installation costs.

Most recently, Cassio, in a joint effort with the Italian American Club, the SPHSBPA, Patti Construction and South Plainfield High School (SPHS) Athletic Director Kevin McCann, worked to obtain and build an outdoor batting cage at the high school varsity field. He also worked along with the SPHS Athletic Booster Club, the SPHSBPA, Ponytail Softball, and middle and high school softball parents to secure funds for a new retractable indoor batting cage in high school gym.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunity to work with Tom over the years, including when my son played Junior Baseball. Through his business, and even with his own personal family struggles over recent years, Tom has remained consistent, committed, and dedicated to our community,” said White. “As an Elk, I felt he was the right person who would represent the ‘Citizen of the Year’ award well.”

“It was a honor to be nominated and to have been selected, but none of it would be possible without the assistance and support of my family and friends. I wouldn't be able to do any of it without their help,” Cassio said, adding, “It’s not about me. It is about giving back to the community.”

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