Granby Chamber Awards Dinner

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Submitted photo Copyright Heather Conley Photography, LLC

Governor Malloy attends Granby Chamber Awards Dinner
By Bob Marx

Dannel P. Malloy made the keynote address at the Granby Chamber of Commerce awards dinner and annual meeting where Brian Guarco was honored as its Business Person of the Year and Mario Dei Dolori as Humanitarian of the Year . The event took place on Feb. 10 at Vito’s by the Water in Windsor. Governor Malloy warmly greeted the sold-out audience of chamber members and guests of the award winners, then gave an update on Connecticut’s economic outlook and improving business prospects.

Brian Guarco, the owner of State Line Propane in Granby, was cited as an example of success through hard work by moderator Bob Marx. Guarco started working in the family business, State Line Oil, at age 11 and continued to work through his high school and college years. In 1999 he decided to take his own path and start a new company—State Line Propane—as a one-man operation. The company has grown every year to its present size of 25 employees, more than 7,000 customers, 20 service vehicles and nearly 3 million gallons of propane delivered annually.

In 2007, Guarco opened a new building on Salmon Brook Street, adjacent to State Line Oil, and business started booming. Guarco’s philanthropic work has been just as impressive as his business acumen. Guarco was a founding member and inaugural president of the Granby chapter of UNICO, the largest Italian American service organization in the world. Guarco has served as president of the Connecticut Heating and Cooling Contractors Association, on the Board of the Propane Gas Association of New England and is currently on the Board for the Granby Chamber of Commerce. He is the fourth member of the Guarco family to be recognized with a Chamber award, following his father, Mike, his older brother, Mike, Jr. and his sister, Mary Anne, who was the Humanitarian of the Year in 2000.

Dei Dolori was cited for his many contributions to the Granby community, most recently a project that provides food and clothing to needy Granby families. His Secret Santa project for the Granby UNICO Club has assisted 35 families and 100 children in the past five years, including 10 families this year alone. Working with Granby’s school principals, who identify needy families not eligible for government assistance, and with partners like Geissler’s and Bob’s Store, UNICO club donated more than $6,500 in gift certificates during the past holiday season. Names of families are kept confidential.

A fixture in the community since arriving in 1970 as Granby high school’s principal, Dei Dolori has served as chairman of both the scholarship and giving committees for UNICO club as well as the Granby Lions Club. A lifetime educator who retired more than 20 years ago, Dei Dolori grew up in a large Italian-American family in Enfield and did not speak English until the third grade. He overcame that obstacle to earn two college degrees from American International and a graduate degree in education from University of Connecticut. He became a teacher, a principal and was superintendent of schools in New Hartford for 24 years. He married his high school sweetheart, Mary, 57 years ago and together they raised five children who graduated from Granby Memorial High School. Dei Dolori has served as Granby’s Town Moderator, on its Zoning Board of Appeals, and on several educational boards such as the American Association of School Administrators and the Farmington Valley Superintendents Association.

Dei Dolori was also praised for his volunteer work in helping families plan vacations to Italy. He has recently lectured on a number of travel topics.

In addition to the awards presentation, the Granby Chamber also held its annual meeting and introduced its new website to chamber members. Elected as new president is Jen Burkhart of Arrow Concrete, who takes over for Jon Rechenberg who served the chamber for the past two years. New board members were also elected.