Published May 18. 2013 4:00AM
Robert Valenti Jr. of Pawcatuck, who runs automobile dealerships in two states and has been active on local boards and commissions, has been named the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year.
In addition, Sherry A. Quinlan of Stonington has been named winner of the chamber's 2013 Key Award for volunteer work.
Valenti is president of the Valenti Family of Dealerships, which bought the Toyota dealership at Dunns Corners in Westerly in 1998, while also maintaining its Valenti Auto Mall site in Mystic. A decade later, the dealership expanded by adding a Subaru dealership at Dunns Corners.
"He is a man of outstanding community spirit, generosity and concern for the well being of our citizens and the quality of life in our community," chamber President Deb Turrisi said in a statement. "He is known as a savvy businessman with a reputation for fairness, and a loyal volunteer."
Adding to his reputation for generosity, Valenti after last year's Superstorm Sandy gave $10,000 to Misquamicut's Bring Back the Beach campaign, a donation matched dollar for dollar by Toyota.
"Rob's positive, enthusiastic attitude is known throughout the community," said Susan Stritar of Pawcatuck in her nomination letter for Valenti. "He is known as the go-to guy."
Valenti's board memberships have included the Mystic YMCA, Ocean Community YMCA and the Mystic Aquarium. He also was a corporator for Chelsea Groton Savings Bank.
The Citizen of the Year Award dates back to 1957. It annually recognizes one member of the community who exhibits outstanding leadership and contributions to the community.
The Key Award honors volunteer work for the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce. Quinlan was cited for giving more than 125 hours of her time to help the chamber respond to the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, when businesses needed significant help in cleaning up and rebuilding.
"We couldn't have done it without her," said chamber Executive Director Lisa Konicki in a statement.
An awards dinner honoring Valenti and Quinlan is scheduled June 25 at Venice restaurant.
For more information, contact the chamber at 401-596-7761.