By Austin Mirmina.
The Killingworth Lions Club hosted its annual Night of Giving Ceremony and presented
its Citizen of the Year and Student Achievement Awards at Parmelee Farm in
Killingworth on Wednesday, May 5.
The Lions Club awarded some of its $53,000 in total donations to members from
different organizations around Connecticut. The integrated event took place for the first
time since COVID-19 canceled large in-person gatherings last year.
“This is a chance where the Lions get to show everybody what they did this year,”
President Nancy Keyes said. “We want everybody in the community who is in need to be
taken care of.”
Around 100 people gathered under the pavilion as Lions Club members and attendees
mingled before the awards ceremony. Space heaters scattered around the open-air
pavilion kept people warm, and small light bulbs strung across the ceiling lit the round
tables draped with white tablecloths and flowers.
Matt Albrecht accepted the Citizen of the Year award on behalf of his late father, Rick,
who was a former first selectman and volunteer member of the Killingworth Fire
Company and Ambulance Association. High school students Evan Kamoen, Jasmine
Byrne, and Jackson Pitts also accepted awards for their service.
Kamoen, who is a senior at Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton, expressed his
appreciation for the Lions Club supporting his desire to attend college. After graduation,
Kamoen said he would be attending the University of New England to study marine
Richard Bauer, who is the fire chief for the Killingworth Volunteer Fire Company, said
the department, which has added five new members in the past six months, will use the
donation to help offset the costs of sending its firefighters to conventions in Indianapolis
and upstate New York.
Susan Wallace, who is the executive director of the Diocese of Norwich Outreach to
Haiti, said the donation would help continue the organization’s mission of providing an
education and nutritional assistance to Haitian individuals. Wallace explained how
natural disasters and tumultuous leadership have caused extremely difficult living
conditions and forced Haiti into a state of desperation.
“I’m thanking you not just on behalf of [our organization], but I’m also thanking you on
behalf of all the Haitians we help because you’re giving them hope, and that’s a hope
they will pass on to others,” Wallace said. The Lions also donated to two organizations that provide meals to the community.
Joshua Watkins is the executive director of the Community Soup Kitchen in New Haven.
He said the soup kitchen is on track to double the amount of individuals it served in
2020 thanks to funding from the Lions Club and similar organizations around
Kelly Leach from the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Killingworth accepted the club’s
donation and gave an earnest speech about the organization’s goal of de-stigmatizing
hunger in Killingworth. She said the donation would help keep the pantry’s shelves
stocked full “and ready for anybody that walks through the door.”
Photos by Austin Mirmina.