Butch Kowal awards 22 scholarships

Twenty-two high school seniors will receive a Butch Kowal Achievement Scholarship award for their efforts in the school and outside the community.

Among the honored scholars are Matt Angrisani, Luis Mueller, Tyshan Johnson, Keyshawn Cummings, Wilisha Jackson, Isabel Elliot, Alani Francois, Jason Winters, John Coulson, Jakub Luzynski, Terrell Frasier, Kim Twerdak, Matt Houck, Tymek Jones, Natasha Bustamante, Dominick Williams, Jodi Alston, Sabian, Marrero, Anabella Giacobbe, Joseph Turek, Matt Zwiebel, Trinity Garay.

John “Butch” Kowal was born on May 20th, 1923, in Rahway. Butch invested a lot of his time in his business, which has been in operation since 1951.

When he wasn’t focused on that, he spent his time giving back, and helping others.

In 1963 he decided to start the Butch Kowal Association. Before they gave out scholarships, the association would do an activity called “Merry Christmas for all” where they would purchase clothing and or food from local Rahway merchants, and help out 15 to 25 Rahway families in need a year, always around the holiday season.

Adding to Butch’s efforts, in 1995 they decided to start giving out scholarships as well. To make their efforts as impactful as they could, Butch needed a way to raise money for the scholarships.

Every December, around the holiday season, there is the Butch Kowal Memorial Holiday Basketball Tournament, which was named for him by athletic director, Tom Lewis, because of his commitment to the Rahway community, where the revenue goes toward the scholarship.

It is held in Rahway’s gym, and dates back twenty years now. Please come out and support the Rahway boys’ basketball as they look to defend their title, where they defeated Governor Livingston last year.

Our only current fundraising event happens during the NFL’s NFC and AFC Championship games. Here, the association rents out Luciano’s in Rahway, where people eat great food, watch football, and laugh with friends. The event is $100 a person, where you eat buffet style, and can win door prizes. Last year, 200 people came to support the association. We hope to see new faces next year, on Sunday January 20th, 2019!

Butch’s number one passion was sports, especially Rahway athletics.

There wasn’t a Saturday that went by in the fall where you wouldn’t see Butch at Veterans Memorial Field in Rahway cheering on the Indians, and if Rahway had a basketball game in the winter, he was always front row at Earl H. Walter gymnasium at Rahway High School.

Butch combined his love for athletics, with his passion for helping others out, to create a scholarship for high school athletes looking to further their education at a college. This was his way of saying “thank you” to the athletes that represented Rahway with class on the playing field.

With the efforts of Butch’s son, Peter Kowal, Rahway’s athletic director Tom Lewis, and one of Rahway’s most influential and respected teachers, Mr. Farrell, as well as many others efforts and sacrifices, the Butch Kowal association and scholarship is flourishing.


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