Oceanside Kiwanis Club

Kiwanis clubs pass the torch

Oceanside presents home banner to Five Towns


The Long Island Southwest Kiwanis Division held its annual passing of the banner on Sept. 22, as the Kiwanis home banner changed hands from the Oceanside Kiwanis Club to the Five Towns club. Seth Blau, of Oceanside Kiwanis, is the outgoing division lieutenant governor, and David Vines, of Five Town Kiwanis, is the incoming designee.

Ralph DeSena, of Lynbrook Kiwanis, was recognized by the division as the winner of the 2022 Teddy Papatsos award.

Blau had an unconventional start as lieutenant governor two years ago, during the coronavirus pandemic. What should have been only a standard one-year term turned into two, owing to the circumstances. Over that time, however, Blau has successfully raised funds for numerous scholarships and awards, planned community events and lent a helping hand not only to the Oceanside club but also to the Long Island Southwest Division as a whole.

In a speech addressing the division at the ceremony at Frank’s Steaks in Rockville Centre, Blau told the members of a number of area clubs that “Anyone can do what we do, but they don’t. We’re the ones that are actually doing it. We’re the ones volunteering our time, volunteering our money. We donate our resources.”

Describing the clubs’ boots-on-the-ground operation, Blau added, “We actually go out and do things that most people don’t do, and don’t even think about doing. We do it just to improve the lives of children in our communities, and it’s quite remarkable.”

Oceanside Kiwanian Michael D’Ambrosio said that the main goal of the club is helping children. “It’s always been an emphasis on the children, to help the children,” he said. “That’s where the Key Club, the Builders Club comes about, with all the different elementary schools, middle and high schools, and the colleges also have clubs.”

D’Ambrosio added that Oceanside Kiwanis was proud of the work Blau has done for the organization and the community. “It’s an honor to have somebody from your home club come out and be lieutenant governor,” he said.

D’Ambrosio and Blau are both Ocean-side Board of Education trustees as well, and they see the direct impact of Kiwanis’s work on students. “We see it on a regular basis,” Blau said. “We provide by raising funds — the scholarships, especially, because students that are worthy of it, some of them are students who are very active in our Key Club.”

Looking back on his two years as lieutenant governor, Blau said that helping countless kids in school and elsewhere — donating to the Pediatric Trauma Center Foundation or the Pediatric Lyme Disease Foundation — is something he and the organization are proud of. “We take great pride — it’s a great part of what we do,” he said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Blau said he was pleased to keep the “division vibrant and moving forward despite everything that we had to go through the last two years.”

Assemblywoman Judy Griffin presented citations to Blau, Vines and DeSena for their dedication to helping the next generation. Griffin wrote on Facebook of the event, “The work of Kiwanis on countless community initiatives, but especially for pediatric care for our most vulnerable children and their families, is so inspiring . . . Your collaborative approach has resulted in incredible accomplishments. Thank you for your years of dedication to the community.”