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Christopher Ruocco - Painted Post Distinguished Citizen 2017

The Painted Post Area Board of Trade is pleased to present the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Award to Christopher Ruocco.

Each year the Board chooses a local citizen for this honor based on service and dedication to the community and its citizens. This year's recipient is an outstanding example of what it takes to truly be a "Distinguished Citizen".

Chris or "Ruoc" as he is called, has lived in the Village of Painted Post for all of his 52 years. He is a 1983 graduate of West High where he made a name for himself as one of the more fervent sports and school supporters. Along with his stellar exploits on the football and lacrosse fields Ruoc was also "Victor Viking", the West High mascot for two years and was known as "Mr. West High" for his intense school spirit. Not many local people know this but he started the "Courtside Crazies" (the basketball spirit crew), then known as "Pudgie's Pack", named for Coach Pudge Breitwise.

Chris Ruocco's dedication to the betterment of our community is evident in his involvement with youth sports. Ruoc was a youth sports coach for 31 years, starting in 1984. He coached Corning Babe Ruth Baseball for 9 years and served on their Board of Directors. He coached Painted Post Little League from 1996 to 1999 and also served on their Board. From 1984 to 2009 he was an assistant and volunteer at the JV and Varsity levels of the West High Boys Lacrosse Team. In 1997 he served as an assistant for the inaugural year of the West High Girls Lacrosse Team. The Corning-Painted Post Youth Lacrosse benefitted from Ruoc's leadership from 2000 to 2003 when he served as the league's president. Coaching the Corning Skyhawks and Painted Post Vikings Summer Lacrosse Travel teams kept Ruoc busy from 2000 to 2008, and he managed to fit in work as an assistant with the Northside Blodgett Boys Lacrosse team in 2004 and 2005. To cap off his 31 years as a coach he served as JV assistant and Varsity head coach of the Notre Dame High School Boys Lacrosse team from 2011 to 2014.

But perhaps the most visible contribution that Chris Ruocco has made to the area is the annual Painted Post Colonial Days Wiffle Ball Tournament, a four-generation effort that has raised over $66,000 for local charities since 2011. Held right in the Ruocco backyard on Steuben Street, the Wiffle Ball Association of Painted Post tournament has garnered national attention and has grown to include year-round charity events including golf, cornhole and bowling tournaments. Some of the local charities that have benefitted from these efforts are the Corning Youth Center, Bampa's House, Breast Cancer, Pantry of Angels, Teen Angels, Twisted Toys, and the 4DAD Scholarship Foundation, as well as various families in need.

Chris and his wife Trish raised their son Nathan, himself a West High graduate and sports standout, to give back to the community as well. Nathan has served as an assistant coach for his father at Notre Dame. He is married to fellow West Hugh alum Faclicia Golden and they reside in Bethlehem, PA.

Chris Ruocco has been inducted into two Halls of Fame: The Wiffle Ball Hall of Fame (as co-founder, co-commission, and player); and the Corning-Painted Post Sports Hall of Fame (as a contributor for work as a local youth coach and the Wiffle Ball Tournament).

The Painted Post Area Board of Trade established the Distinguished Citizen Award to publicly recognize individuals who have unselfishly volunteered their time to make a significant sustained contribution n to the Painted Post area. We are honored to present the 2017 award to Christopher Ruocco.

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