The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club – part of a global organization dedicated to making a positive impact on communities – is gearing up for its 15th annual community service awards dinner on Wednesday at Lucien’s Distinguished Catering in Berlin.
The event acknowledges individuals whose contributions have significantly enriched the township. This year, there are three of them: Aqil Khan, citizen of the year; Luigi Epifanio, businessperson of the year; and Kaylyn Joesten, the selfless student of the year.
Voorhees resident and Rotary member Stella Sytnik – also an educator and community leader – nominated Khan for his award and shared in an interview her pride in him and his contributions.
“To me, it’s a reward by itself to see authentic people in our community being recognized and appreciated for their selfless service,” she noted. “I am proud to have nominated someone like Aqil Khan for the citizen of the year award. As the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club officer, I am grateful to our selection committee for their decision to present Aqil Khan with this prestigious award.”
Khan is the founding president of the Pakistan American Society of South Jersey and has been cited for his leadership at the Voorhees Mosque, also known as the Muslim American Community Association, where he is the weekend school principal. Khan also established the township’s first International Day.
“I had an honor of being invited by the Muslim American community to their annual teachers and students award ceremony and saw first hand how children and parents love and respect their principal,” Sytnik recalled. “He has been my continuous inspiration to continue to promote cultural awareness, something that is my own lifetime mission.”
Sytnik also shed light on the significance of the ASA’s (Azerbaijan Society of America) support as gold sponsor of the Rotary awards.
“They (ASA) feel that our mission as community leaders coincides with the mission of ASA in bringing diverse cultures together,” she explained. “ASA members love to get to know people and want to create awareness.”
Sytnik added that citizen of the year award aligns with the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club’s motto of “Service above self.” She also reflected on the role of community events to foster unity and civic engagement in Voorhees.
“We live in a tumultous, and at times, dangerous reality,” she observed. “Often times, people feel reluctant to leave the comfort of their homes and tend to spend most of their time on social media and using their gadgets. Events such as this (the awards dinner) ARE a unique way to celebrate togetherness.”
Find information about the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club on its website: Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club Website. The club also invites attendance at its Thursday morning meetings.