“SPIRIT OF LIONISM” COMMUNITY OUTREACH AWARDS HONOR SERVICE OF SPECIAL INDIVIDUALS & PROFESSIONALS

Middletown, N.J. – The Lions Club of Middletown Township honored a diverse group of local volunteers and supporters – individuals who through their personal service, professional specialties, sacrifices of time, and good deeds -improve the quality of life for those in need. The “Spirit of Lionism” Community Outreach Awards are the brainchild of Lion President Beverly Bova Scarano. A third-generation Lion, Bova Scarano noted, “The awards publicly recognize special individuals – ‘the unsung heroes’ whose selfless acts of service and dedication assist and empower others and also help to build awareness of the charitable mission of the Lions.” The individuals honored during a moving ceremony on March 23 at Taliercio’s, Middletown, are:

-Spirit of Lionism ‘Gift of Vision’ Award – Kim Shade, Lens Crafters of Holmdel, for providing free eye exams and eyeglasses to those unable to afford them

-Spirit of Lionism ‘Power of the Pen’ Award – Virginia Amend of Amend Publishing; Bernice Roberts of the Atlantic Highland Herald; and Sue Paviluk of The Monmouth Journal, for helping to build awareness of the Lions mission through extensive news coverage of Lions events, projects, and programs

-Spirit of Lionism ‘Action Through Compassion’ Award – Doreen Minutella and Nancy Mester for compassionate service at St. Mark’s Kitchen, Keansburg, a food pantry which serves hot meals six days per week; Linda H. Goltz for coordinating the HOPE Food Program (Helping Other People Exist), Middletown, which provides volunteers to collect and deliver day-old food and produce to seniors in Middletown, Atlantic Highlands, and Union Beach; Melanie Jacob, St. John’s United Methodist Church Bridges Outreach Program, Hazlet, for serving the homeless in the inner cities of New York and New Jersey and for organizing a food ministry at the church; and Sister Kathleen O’Halloran, RSM, Project P.A.U.L (Poor, Alienated, Unemployed, and Lonely) Director of Client Services, for her oversight of programs which assist the needy with basic items such as food, clothing, and payments of rent and utility bills

-Spirit of Lionism ‘Power of Personal Empowerment’ Award – Gail Bechtoldt, Jersey Shore Work Camp Program, Hazlet, for coordinating this unique youth-based initiative which provides volunteers to perform repairs and improvements free of charge to qualified homeowners; and Retired Middletown Police Officer Michael Slover, director of Crossroads Substance Abuse Program, Middletown, for dedicating over 30 years of his life – both on and off the force – to the eradication of substance abuse by education

-Spirit of Lionism ‘God and Country’ Award – Marion and Dennis Zilinski of the Lieutenant Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Foundation, Middletown, for continuing to honor the memory of their fallen son, Dennis, by forming an organization that provides support and seeks to improve the morale and welfare of members of the United States Armed Forces and their families.

-Spirit of Lionism ‘Connecting the Blind to the Earth’ Award – Middletown Garden Club R.F.D. Members Ruth Korn, Bernice Berger, and Tanya Ashuck, for creating and administering the Garden Therapy Program at Camp Happiness for the Blind, Leonardo

The Lions Club of Middletown Township, chartered in 1946 under Lions International, is comprised of caring men and women who volunteer time for the benefit of local communities. Armed with the motto “WE SERVE,” Lions International is the largest service organization in the world with over 1.3 million members in over 200 countries. The Lions Club of Middletown Township supports initiatives and projects involving sight preservation and prevention of blindness, health and vision screenings, eyeglass donation, collection and recycling, nutrition programs and food pantries, and additional charitable programs which assist individuals and families with special needs. Membership is by invitation. The club meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at Taliercio’s Ultimate Gourmet, Union Square Mall, Middletown. Information is available on the website www.mlions.org or by contacting Lion Lori Anne Oliwa at (732) 757-7443 or by email at laoliwa@yahoo.com.

PHOTO CAPTION: Honorees took a moment to celebrate as a group. First row, left to right, are Lion President Beverly Bova Scarano; Ruth Korn, Bernice Roberts, Bernice Berger, and Virginia Amend. Second row, left to right, are Marion and Dennis Zilinski, Sister Kathleen O’Halloran, Linda Goltz, Melanie Jacobs, Nancy Mester, Doreen Minutella, Tanya Ashuck, and Gail Bechtoldt. In the third row is Mike Slover. Not Pictured: Kim Shade and Sue Paviluk