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Honoring Distinguished Leaders

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Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore will Recognize 9 Community Role Models at Gala on May 26, to Support Local Girls

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore will recognize nine individuals for their achievements in business, healthcare, youth development, and public health, as well as contributions to the greater community at its signature Women of Distinction & Community Partners Gala on Wednesday, May 26, at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale.

“Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore is thrilled to honor a group of remarkable role models, each who has made a positive impact in their field and on our community,” said
Teri O’Connor, chairperson of the Girl Scouts volunteer board of directors, and administrator for Monmouth County.

The annual gala is the nonprofit organization’s most significant fundraising event to generate support for its mission “to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place,” noted Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s CEO Eileen Higgins, who oversees the council comprised of nearly 9,000 girls and 4,000 adult volunteers across Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Proceeds from the event will fund the Girl Scouts’ scholarship program, which ensures that all area girls who want to be Girl Scouts can receive financial assistance to cover membership fees and uniforms. Donations also will support leadership programs and summer camp experiences to help girls thrive, Higgins added.

“Now more than ever, girls need opportunities to be engaged and to connect with each other after a long period of isolation, social distancing, and online learning,” Higgins said. “We appreciate the community’s support to empower girls and help them achieve their fullest potential.”

Gala co-chairs Paige Baran, an attorney with Hiering, Dupignac, Stanzione & Dunn, and Thomas Hayes, director of customer and community relations at New Jersey Natural Gas, and their committee is planning one of the area’s first in-person philanthropic events this spring. Guests will enjoy an outdoor cocktail reception, a program featuring stories of impact about the honorees, and a gourmet to-go dinner with dessert. In the event of rain or inclement weather, guests will be able to gather safely indoors.

Honorees at the 2021 gala include:

Women of Distinction

  • Bahiyyah Abdullah, Barnegat Township – A Girl Scout professional for 33 years, Abdullah has impacted the lives of countless girls and women in Monmouth and Ocean counties. She is the chief mission officer for Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore and serves as president of the Toms River Area Branch of the NAACP. Abdullah is a tireless advocate for civil rights, social justice, children, arts, and history. She volunteers for a host of national, state, regional, and local organizations that support these efforts. She was named Women’s Advocate of the Year by the Ocean County Women’s Commission in 2016. She is the proud mother and grandmother of three children and seven grandchildren, and widow of the late civil rights and Head Start activist, Saleem Abdullah.
  • Nancy Barone, Brielle Barone has held numerous leadership positions in healthcare and technology. She currently serves as vice president of Development, Volunteer, and Guest Services at CentraState Healthcare System in Freehold. She has a long history of community volunteerism, serving as president of the Monmouth Ocean Development Council, a board member for Affinity Federal Credit Union, and honorary commander at the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for three years. She also served on the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore development committee. Barone has two sons and six grandchildren.
  • Christine Buteas, Brick and South Plainfield – Buteas is chief government affairs officer of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association and executive director of NEW JOBS, a political action committee in New Jersey. She serves on numerous boards and councils that support education, women in government, health benefits, and economic and workforce research. She also serves as sergeant of arms for the Democratic State Committee. She was recently named a “Barrier Breaker” by Jersey's Best magazine and in 2018, Buteas was named to NJBIZ’s Best 50 Women in Business list.
  • Denice Gaffney, Manasquan – Nicknamed the “energizer bunny” for her unbridled enthusiasm, Gaffney is vice president of the foundation at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC). She has enjoyed a long and rewarding career in healthcare and has helped lead many local causes, including chairing the American Heart Association Heart Walk in 2011. She serves on the executive board of the Monmouth/Ocean Development Council and on Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s development committee. Denice and her husband have two grown children and four grandchildren.

Community Partner

  • David Indursky, Ocean Township – Indursky was named president of ENCON in 1999 after growing up in the family business and learning about it from the ground up. He feels fortunate to be in a generational business, founded by his father in 1968. He credits his mom with teaching him compassion, a value that is embraced by his team through its charitable support. He was recently named chairman of the board of Make-A-Wish New Jersey. He and his team are proud to have donated over half a million dollars to charities nationwide.

Man Enough to be a Girl Scout

  • Kenneth J. Malagiere, Manasquan Malagiere has established a niche in the floral design industry on the Jersey Shore, leading the team at Narcissus Florals, an award-winning, wedding, event, and everyday florist based in Toms River. The business expanded in 2019 with the acquisition of Mueller’s Historic Florist of Spring Lake. Malagiere serves as executive director of the Ocean County College Foundation and was recently awarded the President’s Award for college-wide excellence. He is president-elect of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Toms River and served as an honorary commander of Joint Base McGuire-Dix Lakehurst from 2013-2016. He and his husband, attorney Jonathan Z. Petro, were honored with the 2017 Red Triangle Award for their dedication and contributions to the mission of the Ocean County YMCA.

Unsung Hero Recognition

Monmouth County Health Department
  • Jeryl Krautle, Toms River – Krautle is deputy director at the Monmouth County Health Department. She has been a part of the department for 30 years and has worked to promote and protect public health through many challenges including two hurricanes, infectious diseases such as anthrax and Ebola, and now the coronavirus pandemic. She is a recipient of the Governors' Nursing Merit Award and was named the 2018 Public Health Nurse of the Year. She attributes her sense of adventure and leadership skills to her childhood years as a Girl Scout.
Ocean County Health Department
  • Dan Regenye, Toms River – An Ocean County Health Department employee since 1994, Regenye has assumed many different roles and responsibilities, from community health planning and directing public health emergency preparedness and response, to his current position as health officer and director. He oversees a team of 225 employees and an annual operating budget of $26 million.  He and his wife have two children.
  • Dr. Mukesh Roy, Mays Landing - Dr. Roy serves as the director for Emergency Preparedness and Planning for Ocean County Health Department. He is currently coordinating the countywide response to COVID-19, where he has led the effort to conduct over 40,000 tests and has provided over 100,000 vaccinations to Ocean County residents. He has also coordinated major countywide emergency response efforts. He served several roles in the United States Air Force for which he has been recognized and is active on numerous community boards and commissions.