Dan Donatelli said he’s proud of many things he’s accomplished as co-president of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, but he was also just happy he was able to work for “an extraordinary organization.”
Donatelli, who served as a member of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington for 20 years, was honored Thursday for his dedication to the organization.
“It was great working with everyone because it’s an organization that puts a huge emphasis on quality of life issues in Port Washington,” Donatelli said. “Everyone works hard to sustain a good and well-kept environment on the peninsula.”
Donatelli, a lawyer in Port Washington, left the group to work on the Town of North Hempstead’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
In 1991, Donatelli moved from the Upper East Side of Manhattan to Port Washington to raise a family, he said.
He said Port seemed like a nice town with excellent schools near the seaside.
After being the president of the General Council of Homeowners Associations, an umbrella group, Donatelli said he was asked to join the Residents group.
Rick Krainin, who served as co-president with Donatelli for more than 12 years, said the group was working on a project to build trails on property near the Harbor Links Golf Course.
Donatelli, not yet associated with Residents, opposed the project and argued against it. Krainin said he and Residents were so impressed by Donatelli that they recruited him.
“In my 20 years with Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, we’ve grown to become such an extraordinary organization,” Donatelli said. “We’ve expanded and have been very successful working with politicians and would say that the organization will continue fighting the good fight.”
Mindy Germain, executive director of Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, said everyone in the organization looked up to Donatelli.
“He was an amazing teacher, a bold thinker and he always had a plan,” said Germain, who worked with Donatelli for eight years. “He taught us all something unique.”
Donatelli helped start Port Washington’s Cinema on the Bay, which screens movies for residents on the waterfront.
“Cinema on the Bay was Dan’s idea, and he got it done,” Germain said. “And we’ve been doing it for 10 years now.”
Krainin said Donatelli deserves singular recognition for the Cinema on the Bay project, and conceived the idea to drive traffic to downtown Main Street to help businesses.
Donatelli said he believes Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington works so well because it encompasses people with different skills who work together.
“Port is such a well-educated and motivated population and we have so many great volunteers helping out,” Donatelli said. “They take substantial time out of their busy lives to come to meetings and push forward ideas and plans. It’s all so important.”
Donatelli said he’s proud of the work he and the group have accomplished in his 20-year tenure, including the money raised for projects and the work they’ve done on the Bay Walk.
“Dan taught us all that we can all leave a footprint on the community we love and make a difference,” Germain said. “He has truly impacted the quality of life Port Washington and has shown us all that it’s a community that’s wonderful to live in.”
“This is a great honor,” Donatelli said. “I am deeply honored and touched. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know how 20 years elapsed this quickly.”
Donatelli said he’s honored for the distinction, but there are many other people who deserve credit at Residents and in the Port Washington community, too.
“Dan is such a great guy,” Krainin said. “He helped us grow from an organization with a very strong founder into one that we hope will be around for many years to come.”