The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club hosted its 2023 Community Service Award Dinner on Jan. 18 to honor outstanding individual contributions to the township community.
Mayor Michael Mignogna expressed gratitude to the Rotary at the event and drew inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech as he talked about the honorees.
The first recipient to be awarded was Aqil Khan, a 23-year resident of Voorhees who has spent more than three decades promoting diversity and fostering unity across racial, religious, and cultural lines.
As founding president of the Pakistan American Society of South Jersey (PASSJ) and a member of the Camden County Cultural Awareness Commission, Khan has organized numerous social, cultural, and educational programs benefitting not only Voorhees but all of South Jersey.
“Standing here tonight, I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club for choosing me as one of the recipients of the awards and acknowledging my dedication to my community,” Khan said in his acceptance speech.
Next up was Luigi Epifanio, who is known for his commitment to the township as owner of the nearby Sanremo Pizzeria and Ristorante. He has supported a number of local charities and initiatives, including those of the Voorhees police and fire departments. Epifanio also supports Eastern High School with pizza fundraisers and school lunches.
“I am very humbled and thank you so much for this award,” he said at the dinner, which included a friend and business partner who talked about Epifanio’s caring nature and how he treated a nephew like his own child.
The final accolade of the evening went to Selfless Student of the Year Kaylyn Joesten, a senior at Eastern who has been actively involved in community service in and out of school. She volunteers at Voorhees Middle School and plays piano for patients in rehabilitation facilities, among other contributions.
Joesten was introduced by her father, Eric, who spoke about how his then 5-year-old daughter participated in Girl Scouts, then later wrote letters to military members and volunteered at Cathedral Kitchen in Camden.
“I am excited to be able to introduce my daughter this evening,” Eric said. “My wife and I could not be prouder of all of her accomplishments and for the caring young lady she has become. Today, she volunteers in church groups and too many things I can account for.
“As a parent, we have always encouraged and supported her to give back to the community.”
Kaylyn Joesten expressed gratitude for the Rotary honor and thanked her parents for inspiring her community service. She concluded by expressing her determination to continue serving in the future.
“I’m beyond grateful for all the support I have from teachers, church leaders, family and friends,” she noted. “I hope to continue serving the community in college and beyond.”
For more information about the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club, visit voorheesbreakfastrotary.org or contact them at email@example.com