WHEELING - The Wheeling YMCA will honor Robert C. Contraguerro Sr., founder of Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration in Wheeling, as the seventh recipient of the annual YMCA "Light of the Valley" designation.
The award is given to someone whose life reflects his or her contributions and dedication to the quality of life for the youth and families of the local community. More than 400 people attended each of the last four year's events.
Contraguerro, who started his now expansive business in 1977, will receive The Dr. Lee Jones "Patron of Youth" award, named in memory of the late Dr. Edmund "Lee" Jones, whose own contributions were exemplary over the decades.
This year's luncheon award program will be held at noon Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Wheeling Park's White Palace.
Special guest speaker for the event will be West Virginia University Head Football Coach Dana Holgorsen.
Contraguerro operates the business with the help of his three sons, Robert Jr., vice president; Tom, vice president of operations; and Josh, vice president of marketing and head of the company's response team.
An active member of the business and community at-large, he said the company takes a special interest in supporting community and school activities involving youngsters.
Contraguerro joins a list of distinguished, previous winners including Oglebay Foundation Chief Executive Officer G. Randolph "Randy" Worls;
the late Most Rev. Bernard W. Schmitt; businessman Bob Robinson; Robert Nutting, president and chief executive officer of the Ogden Newspapers Inc. and chairman of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities; businessman and philanthropist Gary West; and Ohio County officials Timothy McCormick, Randy Wharton, Greg Stewart and David Sims.
Mike Panas, YMCA executive director, said the award is a fitting tribute to both Jones and Contraguerro.
"The recipient should serve as a 'shining light' in our valley and their deeds as an inspiration for others to follow. Dr. Jones loved children and was a leader at the YMCA. We believe that, in his name, we made the correct selection to honor Bob Contraguerro because he demonstrates the same kind of selfless energy and enthusiasm as he strives to make our valley the best it can be. Many opportunities for the youth of our community have developed through Bob's tireless efforts in the areas of youth coaching and his generous philanthropy," Panas said.
Jamie Bordas, YMCA board president, added, "Bob Contraguerro is very deserving of this honor. I have seen firsthand over the years the number of children that he has helped through his coaching youth sports, sitting on school boards, and making charitable contributions to youth organizations across the valley.
"Furthermore, in his daily living, Bob sets a good example for all children in the valley with his hard work, his family life, and his Christian values. Bob has been a strong friend and supporter of the YMCA for quite some time and it is fitting that he is being recognized with this award."
Proceeds from the event will go to further the YMCA's work with the less fortunate of our community.
Laurence Williams, coordinator of the Light of the Valley luncheon, commented, "We as the YMCA Board are blessed again this year to honor a very deserving individual who represents the best in our community. Bob Contraguerro is a class act and we are pleased to give him this award."
In addition to the ticket sales, Panas is preparing a "tribute journal" in which individual groups or major sponsors can place a congratulatory message to the honored individuals. Everyone who attends the awards luncheon will receive a copy of the journal as a keepsake.
For costs or to place a note in the journal, call Panas at the YMCA.
Tickets are available from any YMCA board member or by calling Panas at the YMCA 304-242-8086.
Tickets may be purchased individually or by tables of four or eight.