Longtime Hudson Kiwanis Member Recognized as Governor’s Unsung Hero

November 29, 2019


Courtesy photo Dan Zelonis

courtesy of Mike Falzone

Dan Zelonis, longtime Hudson Kiwanis member and treasurer, received the Governor’s Unsung Hero Award at the New England District Dinner last week.  The annual Kiwanis gathering supports local food pantries and various projects key clubs are working on.  Zelonis is one of the longest tenured members of the Hudson club.

As with many local clubs and service organizations, keeping the membership engaged is one of the toughest battles.  That hasn’t been a problem for Zelonis who’s been silently steering the ship for the Hudson club for some 40-something years.

Longtime Kiwanian Mike Burton shared a couple of stories.

“We had the mortgage burning party for the Hudson girls’ softball field at the old Howard Johnson’s in Nashua.  Zelonis lit the mortgage on fire, which got a little out of control, and we had to throw it in the pool to extinguish it.

Being treasurer, at big events like PumpkinFest or Hudson Old Home Days, Dan was in charge of counting and depositing the day’s receipts.  Zelonis was supposed to make a carnival deposit of around $20k that night but didn’t.  He couldn’t find the paper bag anywhere.  A couple days later he found it under the seat of his Corvette.”

Dan is an accountant, but is also always the party planner for the Hudson club.  Currently, the Kiwanians can be found at Luk’s Bar & Grill or Fat Katz in Hudson on trivia nights.

Club President Jim Woolsey said, “Dan always handled behind-the-scenes things for the fishing derby like ordering the trophies, port-a-potty, renting the truck, button materials, etc.  Because Dan was still handling many of these details after he retired, I told Dan that he is an excellent Kiwanis volunteer, but very bad at being retired.  I guess he just didn’t want to slow down after all.”

One of the biggest fundraisers Kiwanis does is own and operate the Kiwanis Bingo Hall.  Brenda Gora, one of the Hudson VFW Bingo leaders, runs two weekly bingo nights, and had glowing remarks about “Danny.”

“Without him, bingo and the hall wouldn’t be there,” cited Gora.  “He’s wonderful to work with, always supportive, good to all the bingo operators; he’s really a treasure, and truly an unsung hero.”

In the last 47 years, the Hudson Kiwanis Club has donated more than $1,311,816 to scholarships, community programs, youth programs (sports and non-sports related), Scouting programs, Christmas giving, and so much more.  The club is very involved and works hand-in-hand with the Alvirne and Campbell High School Key clubs with more than 100 high school-aged volunteers.

Meetings are the first and third Monday of the month at the Kiwanis Bingo Hall, and you are welcome to come and see if joining might be right for you.