Longtime Riverside resident and businessman Bill Jansky was active in the community, most notably with the Riverside Township Lions Club. Upon his death it was determined a fitting way to remember his spirit was to establish a Lions Club award — the Bill Jansky Distinguished Citizen Award — presented to a deserving person who emulated what Jansky stood for.

The award is determined by a committee and presented yearly by the club at one of their monthly meetings.

This year the honor went to Rick Rovella of the Riverside Garage. Though not a resident of Riverside, Rovella has done much to assist the village in many of its events, most notably the summer cruise nights, the annual car show and his work with the Riverside Township Chamber of Commerce and its annual steak fry.

Rovella always had an interest in cars from when he would help his father, a cab driver, repair his cab. He attended Washburn Trade School and made his move into the auto repair business in 1983, when he purchased the Riverside Garage. He was the third owner of the business, which had been established in 1930. He remembers it was a record cold day when they opened, a record 27-below zero.

His first “car show” in Riverside took place in 1995 when it was part of an antique fair held in the village. It has grown to three cruise nights and a big car show at the end of the season yearly.

Those attending the cruise nights may have noticed how smoothly the events happen and how calmly Rovella directs the cars to their assigned places. Rovella says he is very organized, carrying out the event and has good helpers including his two sons.

He himself has no favorite car saying, “I like them all.”

Rovella enjoys watching people attending the car shows, who reminisce about the cars on display and tell stories about their first cars. With cars ranging from antique to muscle cars there is something for everyone.

It also gives people the chance to see what may be their dream car, which possibly may be for sale; there’s nothing like a ’57 Chevy. Car owners are only too happy to talk about their cars.

The choice of Rick Rovella to receive the Distinguished Citizen Award was one Jansky himself would have agreed with and those in attendance at the club’s February meeting were in agreement also.