Michael Rauh, of Chelsea Groton Bank, named chamber's Citizen of the Year

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Waterford — Michael Rauh, president and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank, has been selected by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut as its Citizen of the Year, an honor that has been around since 1949.

It's a fitting year for the award, considering Chelsea Groton celebrated its 165th anniversary last year and Rauh serves as chairman of the chamber's board of directors.

"We don't really select people just because they've done a good job," chamber President and CEO Tony Sheridan said Wednesday morning, as he made the announcement in the chamber office. "We select people because they've worked beyond their work. They're volunteering in the community."

Rauh also is chairman of the board for L+M Healthcare, and he serves on the boards of Norwich Community Development Corporation, Norwich Free Academy Foundation and Eugene O'Neill Theater Center.

"I think what I love about them in totality is that they represent health care, education, the arts, economic development, Norwich to New London, very large organizations to relatively small organizations," Rauh told The Day.

Patrick Green, president and CEO of L+M Healthcare, said Rauh was one of the first people he met when he moved to the area, and described him as a strong partner and a humble leader.

"I don't know when you sleep," said Bill Stanley, head of the Citizen of the Year Committee. Stanley said this year "was as strong a field of nominees for Citizen of the Year as we ever had," but the committee surprisingly came together almost immediately and chose Rauh unanimously.

Rauh will be honored with a dinner at the Mystic Marriott at 6 p.m. on May 28. The chamber expects the event to sell out.

"Honestly, I kind of feel like I'm cheating here, because I love what I do and I do it because I love it, and I enjoy it and I've learned so much and met so many wonderful people," Rauh said. "To be singled out for that, it seems wrong in some way, but I'm honored and I'm humbled."

Rauh, 60, grew up in northern Virginia and came to New England to attend the University of Rhode Island, where he met his wife and got a bachelor's degree in economics.

He then spent 10 years in a variety of sales and marketing jobs, including one in Providence where he worked with outdoor sporting goods and financial services industries. One of his clients was Washington Trust, where Rauh then ended up working for 20 years.

He was named CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank in 2010. Rauh replaced Duncan Stoddard, who was the chamber's Citizen of the Year in 2003. The award last year went to Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.

Rauh lives in Mystic and Narragansett. The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce, now known as the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce, named Rauh its Citizen of the Year in 2008.

e.moser@theday.com

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