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Weirton Kiwanis Club continues to make a difference in community

CLUB LEADERS — Officers of the Weirton Kiwanis Club are, seated, from left, Miki Marino, treasurer; Kitty Kochman, secretary; Ernie Nicholas, president; and Gary Mastromichalis, immediate past president; and standing, board members Aggie Monezis, Lt. Gene Hunt, Mary Kay Olashuk and John Hudson. Rik Rekowski is vice president. -- Contributed

WEIRTON — Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Weirton Kiwanis Club is continuing its work to make a difference in the community.

The service organization’s 2020-21 club year began Oct. 6 with officers remaining in the same posts for an extended year, given the group has been unable to meet and elect new officers as in past years.

Ernie Nicholas continues as president. Other officers are Rik Rekowski, vice president; Miki Marino, treasurer; Kitty Kochman, secretary; Gary Mastromichalis, immediate past president; and board members Aggie Monezis, Lt. Gene Hunt, Mary Kay Olashuk and John Hudson.

The club had stopped meeting in March because of the coronavirus, which also impacted the group’s annual fundraiser — the 69th-annual John B. Sorrenti Sr. radio auction. It was to have been held April 18 but was postponed until Aug. 18 only to be postponed again.

“We are eagerly looking forward to having the auction sometime before year’s end,” notes Kochman in a recent report. “We have everything ready to proceed — that is, if the COVID-19 virus cooperates.”

“To all the businesses and individuals who have contributed to our auction in any way, we extend a heartfelt thank you,” she wrote. All auction proceeds support projects in the community, according to Kochman, who can be contacted at (304) 374-0308.

The Weirton Kiwanis Club, which was chartered on May 28, 1928, and is 92 years old, earned the Distinguished Club Award from Kiwanis International recently with Mastromichalis and Kochman receiving special pins and certificates for distinguished service.

The club has been meeting regularly every Tuesday at noon at Undo’s in Weirton since June 16 while observing CDC guidelines in place. “We have been adapting to these unusual times and continue to serve our community,” Kochman noted in her report.

The club sponsors the Terrific Kid program at Weirton Elementary School, the Builders Club at Weir Middle School and the Weir High Key Club. The club sponsored the Mountaineers Team of the Tri-State United Recreational Soccer League in Weirton.

Its priority project this year been been Weirton Medical Center’s maternity unit.

Each new arrival is given a Kiwanis piggy bank to encourage savings in a congratulatory gesture to the new parents.

The Kiwanis also contribute monetarily to various nonprofits, among them the United Way, Salvation Army, Community Bread Basket, Mary H. Weir Public Library, Weirton Christian Center projects and Make-A-Wish.

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