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Fair,89°
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Kiwanians welcome new leaders
Community news
By: Shannon Koehle
Jina Papadoniou/Herald
Newly appointed Kiwanis officers were recognized at an installation dinner. Also pictured is Mitchell Allen, past Kiwanis president, Legislator Norma Gonsalves, Assemblyman Tom McKevitt. Not pictured is Jim Smith.

A new East Meadow Kiwanis board was installed at a ceremony held at Verdi’s of Westbury on Oct. 5. As Mitchell Allen reflected on his productive year as president, Debbie Kirsh took the reigns and looked to the future.

“As president, the year is filled with many memorable moments,” Allen told the Herald, but a favorite, he said, was working to develop the Children’s Education Garden at the East Meadow farm for his President’s Project. “My members and I, along with students and teachers, have already put several hundred hours into the project and it is just in its infancy,” he said. “Over the next few years, these gardens will hopefully be integrated into the local school curriculum as a learning tool.”

Kirsh, a dedicated member of the community since she joined the PTA nearly 20 years ago and a former East Meadow School Board member, is looking forward to her time as the third female president of the club. She added that East Meadow Kiwanis only started allowing females to join 25 years ago.

“I’m ready to continue our strong tradition of incredible community service,” Kirsh said. “My focus is to spend time working with Service Leadership Programs.” The Service Leadership Programs include students in Key Club, Builders Club and K-Kids. Currently, Bowling Green is the only local elementary school with a K-Kids club, but Kirsh is hoping to add another.

With holiday food drives, the Senior Thanksgiving Dinner and food basket deliveries quickly coming up, Kirsh added that being president is “a big responsibility, but a big honor.”

“Debbie is a confident, strong-willed and highly intelligent leader with significant management skills,” said Allen. “She has the knowledge that our club is behind her and will help her meet and exceed all the goals she puts her interest in.” And, the members backed this statement by attending Kirsh’s first meeting that, she said, was standing room only.

“If you love what you do then it is not really work,” Allen said on his involvement with Kiwanis. He plans to remain involved to oversee the board and its operations, continue to chair the Senior Thanksgiving Dinner and run the Reverse Raffle.

“Kiwanis is a long-term commitment, but a wonderful organization,” Kirsh said, and many others agree as more than 100 members attended the installation to welcome the new board. Additional installations included First Vice President Jim Smith, Second Vice President Kevin Kamper, Secretary Brian O’Flaherty and Treasurer Larry McGovern.

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