They have distinguished their respective crafts and community while also playing major roles in highly important nonprofits.
They are Johnston residents who have each carved a unique niche in the town’s tradition-rich history who recently added another chapter to a rather unique record book.
“I’m proud to have this honor,” Mayor Joseph Polisena told a packed gathering inside the famed Italo-American Club of Rhode Island when he recently administered the oath of office to Stephen Mallane, Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian and Peter P. Montaquila. “I’m confident they will strengthen the Board of Directors and help the club continue to grow in membership.”
Their addition to the slate of officer, which is headed by George Lazzareschi Jr. – who was recently installed as president alongside new secretary Donna Folcarelli – gives Johnston the distinction of having the most representation for the 2020-21 calendar year.
Mallane, who also serves as Johnston’s town sergeant, a post he’s held for more than four decades, and has a lengthy record of business and charitable work.
“To this day he continues helping families deal with cancer,” Larry Mancini, the night’s emcee, offered. “It’s safe to say that Steve enjoys providing his service to the community by assisting those who have faced challengers in their lifetime.”
Mallane, known as “The Sheik,” has owned and operated Sheik Hair and Wings in his native Johnston for 53 years and has been a major supporter of the American Cancer Society for over 30 years.
In 2005 he was recognized with the ACS’s top honor, the highly acclaimed St. George National Award, for his outstanding contributions to the control of cancer.
Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian, whose husband George owns and operates A Custom Car Stereo Center on Atwood Avenue, is – as people like Lazzareschi will tell you – “our new kid on the [Italo-American] Club block, as she has only been a member for the past five years.”
However, Sabitoni-Arakelian – who is the executive assistant for the RI Laborers District Council, and RI Judicial, Professional and Technical Employees Local Union of North America – is by no means a stranger to helping nonprofits reach seemingly unattainable heights, as she dedicated much of her free time to helping charities like Make-A-Wish provide lifetime dreams for children who are battling life-threatening illnesses.
A former Mrs. Rhode Island and Mrs. RI America Beauty Pageant winner, Sabitoni-Arakelian is currently a state, regional and national power-lifting champion.
Peter P. Montaquila Jr., who became a Italo-American Club member in 2010, is carrying on a family business tradition as a third generation owner/president of #1 Finest Car Wash and Auto Repair Center-Valet at 38 Pleasant Valley Parkway in Providence.
“Peter is from a wonderful and traditional Italian family,” Mancini, who serves as director of finance for the city of Providence, offered. “He firmly believes in maintaining and continuing traditional he was raised with.”
He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015 and within his role hopes to continue to maintain the Italo-American Club’s traditions for future generations.