New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

River named Hispanic American of the Year

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WEST HAVEN — The city has named a prominent Allingtown business owner as West Haven’s Hispanic American of the Year , according to Mayor Nancy R. Rossi.

Rossi and the West Haven Hispanic Heritage Committee will fete Sammy Rivera at noon Sept. 24 at City Hall, 355 Main St., at the third Hispanic Heritage Celebratio­n, according to a release. Rivera is “known for his big heart and generous spirit,” according to the city.

The committee bestows the award annually on a Hispanic resident or couple “who personifie­s service in the city’s thriving Hispanic American community.” Last year’s ceremony was postponed because of the coronaviru­s, according to the release.

“I am very honored, very appreciati­ve (of the award),” Rivera said, also in the release. Rivera has owned Budget Car Wash at 936 Boston Post Road since 2017 and Budget Transmissi­on Center, an automotive repair shop at 950 Boston Post Road, since 2005.

Rivera, who was born in Puerto Rico, said: “This honor makes me feel like

I’m appreciate­d by the mayor, who is completely business-friendly and is a friend. This recognitio­n is something I will appreciate for the rest of my life.”

Rivera, 44, will honor his Puerto Rican heritage “with dozens of friends and loved ones, along with an array of dignitarie­s and descendant­s of folks from Puerto Rico and Latin America,” according to the city.

“I am happy to recognize a West Haven business owner and a resident whom I also consider to be a friend,” Rossi said, in the statement. “Sammy is the embodiment of the contributi­ons Hispanic Americans make to our communitie­s. He’s a hard worker, a family man and a generous person with community spirit.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month runs through Oct. 15, and “West Haven recognizes the important legacy of Hispanic Americans and the inspiring contributi­ons they have made to the culture and history of the United

States,” according to the city.

Rossi said in the release that Rivera is civic-minded, a man of faith and family, who has a “wholeheart­ed devotion to the city and its robust Hispanic American community.” His contributi­ons to the city include serving as an alternate member of the Zoning

Board of Appeals and a member of the Redevelopm­ent Agency.

At the event, Rossi will present him with a Puerto Rican flag and a mayoral citation for his good works.

The cultural event will include remarks by Rossi and her executive assistant, Louis P. Esposito Jr., the master of ceremonies. It will also include the singings of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Puerto Rican national anthem, “La Borinqueña.”

Rivera lives with his wife, Mallery, and their two children in Allingtown. He also has three children from a previous marriage, according to the city.

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