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West Hartford Residents Pat and Mark Sinatro Receive Prestigious UConn Award

Pat (left) and his son Mark Sinatro were honored with UConn's Red O'Neill Award on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of UConn Athletics Communications Office

Pat And Mark Sinatro were honored with the UConn Club’s Red O’Neill Award Tuesday.

Pat (left) and his son Mark Sinatro were honored with UConn's Red O'Neill Award on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of UConn Athletics Communications Office

Pat (left) and his son Mark Sinatro were honored with UConn’s Red O’Neill Award on Tuesday night. Photo courtesy of UConn Athletics Communications Office

By Ronni Newton

Mark Sinatro has followed in the footsteps of his father, Pat Sinatro, in many ways, but on Tuesday night the two West Hartford residents were honored at the same time, for the same reason, as they became the first father-son combination in history to receive the UConn Club’s prestigious Red O’Neill Award.

The award was presented to Pat ’51 and Mark ’88 on Tuesday night at the UConn Club’s 62nd Annual Awards Ceremony at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts on the Storrs campus.

According to the UConn Athletics Communications Office: “The Red O’Neill Award is given annually by The UConn Club to a former Husky student-athlete who has mirrored the Red O’Neill-type attributes of character, leadership, athletic ability, and later, a successful career.”

“It’s just very special that we were awarded this simultaneously,” said Mark, who now serves as principal of the Sinatro Agency One in West Hartford – the business started by his father and uncle in the 1950s.

“My dad set an example of his love for UConn,” said Mark. Not only did Mark and both of his parents graduate from UConn, but his brothers and sisters, and 11 of his nieces and nephews, are also Huskies. Three are currently students.

“It’s definitely in the blood,” said Mark.

The Red O’Neill Award is given annually – typically to just one person – for athletic accomplishments at UConn as well as accomplishments in their professional life.

Athletically, Pat and Mark both earned varsity letters in tennis at UConn, and Mark was a team captain.

According to the UConn Athletics Communications Office, “Pat started his tennis career over 77 years ago at the age of ten at his local park. UConn coach George Van Bibber recognized him while scouting at the Connecticut State Tennis Championship in 1946 and offered him a spot on the Husky roster.”

Pat and the Sinatro family have continued to give back to UConn in many ways throughout the years. “Pat was always approachable and willing to step up whenever the University was in need of fulfilling an initiative for funds. When Gampel Pavilion was being constructed, Pat, his wife Jo and their children donated the funds in honor of their UConn education,” the UConn Athletics Communications Office wrote in a release.

The Sinatro family also contributed to a chair in Italian Studies and construction of the Babbidge Library, led a parent fundraising drive for the Husky Dog Park, and are members of the Founders Society of the UConn Foundation and established the Sinatro Family Scholarship, according to UConn.

Pat is a Korean War veteran, and in addition to running the Sinatro Insurance Agency and Sinatro Realty Company, he was involved in multiple ways with the West Hartford Youth Football and Basketball leagues and the National Junior Tennis Association.

“For his civic contributions, he was recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution with the Certificate of Excellence in community service. He felt a duty to pass on respect and honor to our youth, which was the catalyst for the local high school to also establish a West Hartford Fallen Heroes Memorial Monument,” according to the UConn Athletics Communications Office release.

Court #5 at the Hartford Tennis Club, where Pat served as president and the family belonged for many years, was awarded to Pat this year for his “diligence, excellence and devotion to the game of tennis,” UConn said.

Mark’s professional accomplishments include twice being named the Travelers Insurance Agent of the Year. He has earned the “Elite Agent” distinction from Travelers and is a Safeco Insurance Quality Service Award Winner, according to UConn. Mark is also a member of the UConn Club Board of Directors, UConn Foundation Trustee, trustee for the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Hartford, and a former member of the State of Connecticut Boxing Commission.

According to the UConn Athletics Communications Office, Mark “played a pivotal role in creating a national connection between UNICO, the largest Italian American service organization in the country, and Jim Valvano’s V Foundation, which has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research.”

“My father has always been all about community and country – doing whatever he could to care and share. He has been very good to a lot of different charities and I try to walk in the steps he made,” Mark said. “Winning this award is an unbelievable honor.”

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