Happenings in Leadership

Having launched of the mission of Gateway Community Resource Center in mid-September 2022 and begun provision of free programs to the public, the Gateway Leadership Team of five gathered with their guests at Verde Ristorante in Denville January 12 to celebrate their success.

The smiling faces give evidence that this crew enjoys working with one another in support of Gateway’s unique mission.

They look forward to a fundraising gala event in the Fall open to the public when marking the first full year of operation. Many, many more smiling happy faces are anticipated on that occasion.

How proud we fellow volunteers are that our Marilyn Ward, President of the Loaves & Fishes Community Food Pantry Board and Gateway Communtiy Resource Center President, was proclaimed by the Boonton Town Council as its 2022 Citizen of the Year.  We can think of no one better within our town of 9,000 who qualifies for such acknowledgement.  A Boonton resident since 1964, Marilyn served as special education elementary teacher in Boonton Schools for 30 years before retiring.  During those years she served as an officer of the NJEA union and representing Boonton’s public school teaching staff in contract negotiations with the Board of Education.

Upon retirement she then took up a second career with late husband Jim to operate a flower shop in Blairstown for 10 years.

Her second retirement was not the beginning of her voluntary leadership as Elder of Boonton’s First Presbyterian Church.  For decades she was, and continues to be a chief advocate for the support of missions beyond its doors.  Culminating a lifetime of public service, it is her efforts of the past four years that have been cause for Marilyn’s public acknowledgment as community sees and participates within the Loaves & Fishes Community Food Pantry and Gateway Community Resource Center to bring services that help, educate and enrich.

Marilyn is the source of our motivating vision, chief articulator of its formation and tireless advocate and recruiter for engaging others in the cause.  She is a pied-piper of volunteers.  We love you, Marilyn!

Within the recognition moment, Rev, Jen Van Zant, pastor of FPCB delivered a citation of acknowledgment for all of her services across decades as a Boonton resident and elder of the church.

Gateway’s Leadership Team

Gateway’s Leadership Team is comprised of five hard-working volunteers, each are residents of the greater Boonton area. The team brings decades of work experience and volunteerism.  

Seated L.-R. are Harold Johnson, Chief Operations Officer and Marilyn Ward, Pres., Loaves & Fishes Community Food Pantry.  Standing L.-R. are Donna McCullough, Volunteer Dir.; Denise Oyola, Public Relations Dir. and Jane Cook, Program Dir.

About the Team

Jane Cook

Program Director

Recently retired from 30+ years in global financial services, Jane has turned her focus to the local community. She is excited to source meaningful programming for the community and grow awareness for Gateway. She is building a network of local experts and community leaders to cultivate pathways of growth for the local community.

Donna McCullough

Director of Volunteers

Donna joined Gateway’s Leadership Team in July of 2022, responsible for leading the volunteer program. She joins us after a 25 year career in Human Resources. Prior to joining Gateway, Donna gave her time to other non-profit organizations including the Red Cross, Meals on Wheels and the Women’s Center at County College of Morris.

Denise Oyola

Director of Public Relations

Denise has called Morris County her home for 30+ years. With a degree in Psychology, and continued Education in Social Services, she has employed her expertise in the Human Resources field across multiple public and private businesses. Denise has contributed countless hours and dedication to the non-profit sector as well, providing volunteerism and leadership to non-profits throughout Morris, Somerset and Bergen Counties.

Marilyn Ward


A transplanted native of Kingston, Pennsylvania, Marilyn has lived in Boonton for 61 years. After teaching in Boonton Public Schools for 30 years, she retired and moved on to a second career which encompassed 16 years as the owner of a flower and gift shop. Recently widowed, Marilyn’s genes of commitment to public service are mirrored in three daughters. For the past 5 years, she has been focused on a vision. With the dedication of hundreds of planners, workers, volunteers, financial supporters and the invaluable help of the Boonton Presbyterian and Methodist Churches, the vision became Gateway Community Resource Center and Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry. Recently, the Boonton Town Council voted her 2022 Citizen of the Year.

Harold Johnson

Chief Administrator

A Philadelphia native, Harold came to New Jersey for his graduate education, and remained to complete 40 years’ service as a Presbyterian pastor in Essex and Morris Counties, retiring in 2003 after completing 25 years as pastor of Boonton’s First Presbyterian Church.

In retirement, he finds his skills and experience fit well with offering his time in volunteer leadership of non-profit organizations: Highlands-Nairobi Presbyterian Partnership; Boonton Main Street, Inc.; and now, Gateway.

Kaitlyn Duca, Suchi Borkar, Kyran Park and Caitlyn Parish-Lewis


Gateway is fortunate to have gained through an intern program, the volunteer services of four Morris County VoTech students to provide IT support for our four-month-old non-profit’s digital realm.  They are a welcome addition, bringing their younger generation’s familiarity and command of the virtual world that far surpass our Leadership Team’s capabilities.  Pictured below (l-r) are interns Kaitlyn Duca, Suchi Borkar, Kyran Park and Caitlyn Parish-Lewis, who offer their enthusiasm and talent in this relationship to the school year’s end.