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Feb. 16—CONNEAUT — The Conneaut Chamber of Commerce has announced its 2023 Citizen of the year, and the winners of the chamber’s Chamber Champion awards have been announced.

Taylor Cleveland has been named Citizen of the Year.

Cleveland is a veteran, and earned a Purple Heart in Iraq, according to a press release from the chamber. He is currently a detective with the Conneaut Police Department.

He also coaches soccer, volunteers for the Boy Scouts and D-Day Conneaut, and teaches Sunday school.

Chamber of Commerce Director Wendy DuBey said it is hard to put into words Cleveland’s impact on the community.

“It would be difficult to find a more deserving person than Taylor,” she said. “It’s not only what he does, it’s how he goes about it. … He never pats himself on the back. He just does everything behind the scenes, and he does so much.”

She said Cleveland donated a kidney to someone he did not even know.

DuBey said voters had a tough ballot this year.

“There were more people on it than have ever been on the ballot,” she said. “There was a lot of good things going on in Conneaut, obviously, by the looks of that ballot.”

According to the information from Cleveland’s nomination for citizen of the year, “he embodies all the qualities of Citizen of the Year.”

Cleveland said he had no idea he had been nominated.

“If I woke up in the morning and my head was sewed to the carpet, I wouldn’t have been any more surprised,” he said.

Cleveland said he greatly respects the previous citizens of the year.

“I’m very thankful,” he said. “I’m very good friends with a lot of people that are on that list, for previous citizens of the year. I’m just very honored to be counted among them.

“There’s a lot of people on that list I admire deeply and really respect. To just be mentioned in the same arena as them is kind of awesome.”

Cleveland said he loves the thought the chamber puts into their yearly awards.

“I think that they’ve made good choices in the past,” he said. “I really, really appreciate the chamber, and everybody involved in the process. I love Conneaut.”

John John Arcaro received the 2023 President’s award.

According to the release, Arcaro helps with a number of events, and also takes photos at school sporting events, and volunteering at local festivals.

“John doesn’t know how to say ‘no’ when asked,” the press release states.

Judge Nicholas Iarocci received the Professional Achievement Award.

The press release cites Iarocci’s work on the Renewal Court, a specialized docket court for substance abuse and mental health issues.

The court offers an alternative to jail with a focus on helping individuals who want help and are willing to work to overcome challenges that brought them into contact with the court system, according to the release.

“Renewal court is actively saving and changing lives for the better, thanks to Judge Iarocci,” the release states. “His leadership, compassion and drive are what makes the program so successful.”

Kevin Lemmo, Conneaut Township Park superintendent, received the Leadership Award.

Lemmo makes sure Conneaut Township Park is in pristine condition, according to the release.

“Not only do our community residents get to enjoy our beautiful beach and lakefront, out of town visitors continue to return, making Conneaut a fabulous tourist destination,” the release states.

Pat Cifelli was awarded the Legacy Award. Cifelli moved to Conneaut from Italy when he was 15 years old. He started working at El Camp Lanes in the 1950s, and ended up purchasing the business in the 1970s, before buying a pair of other adjacent buildings and expanding the business.

“It would be hard to find a resident of Conneaut who hasn’t bowled at El Camp Lanes or enjoyed a pizza from Pat’s,” the release states, “You will still find Pat Cifelli behind the counter at the bowling alley. He loves what he does and he loves the City of Conneaut!”

Award recipients will be honored at the chamber’s annual dinner meeting on Feb. 20.

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