Tickets are still available for the annual YMCA "Light of the Valley" award luncheon set for noon Aug. 14 at Wheeling Park's White Palace.
This year's designated Light of the Valley is Robert Contraguerro Sr., a self-made business owner, family man and community-minded donor to many causes that benefit the youth of the area.
He founded and operates Panhandle Cleaning & Restoration in Wheeling.
One of 11 children, Contraguerro grew up in East Wheeling, attended Wheeling Catholic Elementary and Wheeling Central Catholic High School.
He married his high school sweetheart, Jody, and together they raised three sons and a daughter. All of them have a role in the family business that Contraguerro started as an enterprising 19-year-old who cleaned carpets at night so as not to miss out on his children's activities.
Contraguerro serves as the president of his company that has grown to service 16 states and employ more than 100 workers. Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration has its corporate headquarters in Wheeling and has expanded its offices to Morgantown and Pittsburgh.
The community-oriented Contraguerro has received many awards and accolades for his generosity and success. In 2007, Contraguerro received the Spirit of the Valley Award, which is given by Big Brothers Big Sisters for community leadership and commitment.
In 2009, Contraguerro was honored for his excellence in leadership and support of Catholic Education when he received the Distinguished Bishop's Cross. In 2011, Contraguerro and his company were named to Who's Who in WV Business and in 2012 Contraguerro was honored as the Italian-American of the Year by the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Heritage Festival Committee.
Contraguerro also has given of himself and time through his willingness to sit on many boards of directors and is a member of many organizations across the Ohio Valley. During the luncheon, he 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.
Special guest speaker for the Light of the Valley luncheon is West Virginia University head football coach Dana Holgorsen.
Tickets are available from any YMCA board member or by calling Panas at the YMCA 304-242-8086. Tickets can be purchased individually or by tables of four or eight.