Citizen of the Year Spring Lake NJ
Frank Kineavy has been selected as the 2022 Citizen of the Year.

SPRING LAKE — The Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce has selected its newest Citizen of the Year: Sea Girt resident Frank Kineavy. 

Living with Cerebral Palsy, Mr. Kineavy is nonverbal and requires a wheelchair, and has overcome a number of obstacles throughout his life.

“Being the first person with a disability whom most of my peers, teachers, coaches and bosses have encountered does take a toll on you after a while,” Mr. Kineavy told The Coast Star. “It sometimes feels like I have to start at square one with every new person I meet.”

Despite his condition, Mr. Kineavy has overcome much of this adversity. He has become a coach, a screenwriter, a mentor and a political advocate. He has even started a new employment agency for people with disabilities. 

“I have recently formed an employment agency called Let’s Be Frank. We match people with disabilities in meaningful jobs that lead to careers,” he said. “Currently, we are in the process of getting companies on board and simultaneously building our pipeline of qualified candidates.” 

In addition to developing his new agency, Mr. Kineavy works as assistant offensive coordinator for Robbinsville High School football team and works as the baseball coach at Bradley Beach Elementary School. 

He also has written a sitcom about a young man with Cerebral Palsy trying to make it in New York City. The Spring Lake Community Theatre is developing the script into a play, which is set to debut this fall, Mr. Kineavy said. 

“If you look in the dictionary under ‘Inspiration,’ you’ll see a picture of Frank Kineavy,” said chamber president George D’Amico. “He’s just always been a leader in spite of his disability… no matter what he does he excels, whether its grammar school, high school he always has participated and it’s always in a leadership position. 

“He’s been a model teacher for everybody in our area,” he continued. 

Mr. Kineavy is the 13th ‘Citizen of the Year’ since the chamber started the program in 2005, and the first Sea Girt resident to be honored. The past honorees are; Former Spring Lake Mayor Tom Byrne, Former Spring Lake Heights Mayor Elwood Malick, Mary Reilly, Cosmo and Linda Scardino, Richard Clayton, Bill Wingard, Donald and Margie Brahn, Kathy Cunningham, current Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton, Monica Vermeulen and Michael Scotto. 

The process in which the chamber selects Citizens of the Year is by nomination. According to Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Manger, “All members are eligible to submit nominations which are then reviewed by the Board of Directors of the Chamber and an honoree is selected,” she said. “A broad spectrum of winners, who have contributed in many different ways to the betterment of their community, have been recognized. The celebration features a formal dinner with a program directory of ads and personal wishes to the honoree from friends, family, colleagues, businesses, etcetera.”

This year, the celebration of Mr. Kineavy’s honor will be held at Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club on Thursday, Oct. 27. Tickets to attend the event are $175 per person and will include filet mignon, pistachio covered salmon or chicken francese along with an open bar and appetizers. 

“Anytime you are recognized by the only community you have called home your entire life, it is overwhelming to be honored as the Citizen of the Year,” Mr. Kineavy said. “My time at Villanova had been well documented and I loved every second of it. But, if it wasn’t for my parents, siblings, families of Sea Girt and Spring Lake, along with the MHS community, I would not have had the opportunity to attend a school like Villanova, or have the experiences I have had in my lifetime.

“It is rare to have people from all areas of your life be under the same roof,” he continued. “I am looking forward to celebrating them and having the opportunity to tell them how much of an impact they had on me.”

Proceeds from the event will be going towards a charity of Mr. Kineavy’s choosing, and he’s expressed interest in choosing one affiliated with his alma mater, Villanova University. 

Mr. Kineavy hopes to inspire others with his message to “just try every door.” 

“If one person won’t give you the time of day, forget about them. Try to connect with the next person. If one job doesn’t work out, there will be something else that does,” he said. “If one school community does not accept you for who you are, that just means you are meant to be somewhere else.” 

Michael J Scotto has been selected as the 2019 Citizen of the Year.

Please click here for Citizen of the Year Photos at Spring Lake Golf Club

In his professional life Michael is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in the Wealth Management Division. In his artistic life he is an extraordinary photographer who has been a driving force in celebrating the beauty of Spring Lake and sharing it with thousands of Internet users. As an administrator of over 30 Facebook pages including the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Spring Lake 5- Mile Run and the Borough of Spring Lake, he is a ubiquitous presence at countless events and festivals throughout the year. Michael has promoted his home town and the beauty of the Jersey Shore using his photos of the amazing SL beach and boardwalk, the spring- fed lake with St. Catharine’s church and the unparalleled public gardens and absolutely captivating surfing shots. Michael has single handedly contributed to the growth of the critically important tourism industry with his inviting photos which bring visitors, not only to Spring Lake, but to the entire “down the shore” mystique.

Michael also volunteers his expertise to many organizations in Spring Lake and neighboring Boroughs. He has been active in the St. Catharine’s School, St. Rose High School, the Spring Lake 5-Mile Run and the Spring Lake Community House, where he is currently Vice President of the Board of Trustees. Michael and his wife, Kathleen, moved to Spring Lake in 1991 with their two sons, Michael and Thomas. Since moving to town, they welcomed two more children, John and Kathryn. The Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce is proud to honor this “Spring Lake Favorite Son”.

Please click here for Citizen of the Year Photos at Spring Lake Golf Club
Monica Vermeulen:
Founder of Ashley Lauren Foundation:
Spring Lake's 2017-2018 Citizen of the Year!

To purchase tickets or purchase an ad in the journal, call 732-449-0577

The news was announced at the chamber meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Ms. Vermeulen is the CEO and founder of Ashley Lauren Foundation, an independent 501[c][3] nonprofit organization that supports local families with children diagnosed with cancer.

“I was totally humbled by the news,” Ms. Vermeulen told The Coast Star, about finding out about the recognition when Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce President George D’Amico called her less than a week before the meeting.

“I think she is a wonderful choice, she is a wonderful human being — a very giving person,” Mr. D’Amico said. “She’s always in the background, always doing for others.”

Ms. Vermeulen’s own daughter, Ashley Lauren, was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor, a type of kidney cancer, at 3-years-old in 1991. Ashley dealt with chemotherapy and its consequences for many years, but now lives her life without the disease in Belmar. She is currently 29-years-old and works as a fitness and dance instructor.

After enduring the travails that come with battling pediatric cancer, Ms. Vermeulen was inspired to set up an organization that helps other families dealing with the same difficulties day in and day out.

“We experienced a tremendous amount of hardships, first and foremost just watching your child suffer through all of the pitfalls of the disease, all the effects from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the emotional stress, the financial stress. Knowing what we went through and realizing how all-encompassing it was on all levels, I realized that the need for support was so vital,” Ms. Vermeulen said.

The Ashley Lauren Foundation, incorporated since 2005, uses the funds raised to offer financial and emotional aid to the families battling pediatric cancer, as well as to provide uplifting programs to the ailing children. The programs the foundation offers to the children range from parties, outings, a birthday program and a “Making Dreams Come True” program.

The foundation learns about the families with pediatric cancer through referrals from all of the hospitals in New Jersey that deal with pediatric cancer as well as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“As long as the child lives in New Jersey, we will assist, we cover the whole state,” Ms. Vermeulen explained, noting that the foundation’s hallmark is financial assistance. The foundation covers anything from household bills to travel expenses from journeying back and forth to the hospital.

Ms. Vermeulen recognizes the financial aid needed for these costs because the diagnosis of pediatric cancer usually means one parent has to stop working in order to care for their child.

The Ashley Lauren Foundation predominantly raises funds through fundraisers and private donations. Its largest fundraiser, the Butterfly Ball, is set for Feb. 25 at Ocean Place Resort and Spa in Long Branch where guests will be entertained with dinner, dancing, auctions and live music by Brian Kirk and the Jirks. For tickets to the Butterfly Ball, call 732-414-1625 or visit

Prior to establishing the foundation in 2005, Ms. Vermeulen received a bachelor of arts degree in nonprofit management with a focus on pediatric cancer from Stockton University so that she could be wholly knowledgeable on how to run a nonprofit. After running the Ashley Lauren Foundation in Colts Neck for about nine years, Ms. Vermeulen moved the foundation to Morris Avenue in Spring Lake two years ago.



2017 Citizen of the Year
November 8, 2017 Photos

above: Monica Vermeulen


This is the 12th year the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce has named a Citizen of the Year.

The Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce encompasses Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights, Lake Como and Sea Girt.

“We’re looking for people who have done wonderful things from all of those towns,” Ellen Manger, executive director of the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce, said of the criteria for choosing the Citizen of the Year.

The chamber’s board of directors receives nominations for Citizen of the Year from both chamber members and nonmembers. The number of nominations the chamber receives each year varies. The board of directors meets to review the qualifications of those nominated and selects one person as Citizen of the Year, Ms. Manger explained.

“It’s more of a global person, giving of themselves, and they have a connection with Spring Lake, their business is here, they live here, they’ve done good work here and they’re part of our community,” stated Ms. Manger.

The chamber recognizes the Citizen of the Year at a formal dinner every spring. The details of the event are currently in the works, but a portion of the net proceeds from the dinner will go to the Ashley Lauren Foundation and the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce.


The Ashley Lauren Foundation is located at 300 Morris Ave. Suite D in Spring Lake. The foundation is a member of the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce.  



Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce
313 Washington Ave.
Spring Lake, NJ 07762
Phone: (732) 449-0577
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |
Business Directory
Where To Eat
Where To Shop
Where To Stay
Professional Services
About The Chamber

Upcoming Events
Beach Info
Town Map
Visitor Guide
Live Here
Shop Local

Photo Gallery
Divine Park
Downtown History
Town Blog
Spring Lake TV

Seward Johnson
Christmas In Spring Lake
Halloween In Spring Lake

Citizen Of The Year

Italian Festival

Irish Festival

Sidewalk Sales
Downtown Art Walks

Our Community
 ©  2024 Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce
Website credit: EMB People