A Special ‘Thank You’

Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love; it’s a celebration of all forms of love, including the profound bond we share with our community heroes. In the spirit of honoring those who go above and beyond, we shine a spotlight on our number one Valentine this year—Lucas Cellino of Cellino Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling.

The story of Lancaster Unleashed and Lucas began at the genesis of our community dream—the planning and development of the beloved dog park. Faced with the challenges of the site’s topography and the expected drainage issues in our region’s notorious hard clay soil, we knew we needed an expert. Enter Lucas, answering our call with not just expertise but a heartfelt commitment to making our dream a reality.

Lucas, accompanied by his team of highly skilled professionals, swiftly crafted a plan to install an extensive drainage system. The initial installation took place before the park’s grand opening in October 2021. During the park’s temporary closure in March/April 2022, the Cellino crew returned, extending and enhancing the drainage system. Little did we know that this collaboration marked the beginning of a lifelong relationship with our dear Lucas.

Beyond his exceptional contributions to the dog park, Lucas’s heart overflows with a passion for helping non-profit organizations dedicated to our four-legged friends. Serving as a board mentor for the White Whiskers Sanctuary, he actively supports their mission of providing safety, comfort, and peace to senior dogs. A recent initiative involved Lucas renting out space at McKinley Mall, allowing ten rescues to showcase their pups for adoption—a testament to his dedication.

A dog lover since youth, Lucas’s commitment to non-profit work deepened in his early twenties. The brainchild of the competitive Truck Wrap Contest emerged from his desire to boost the visibility of deserving organizations. This annual contest, mimicking the March Madness bracket, engages the community in voting for nominated non-profits. The winner not only gets their design co-branded on one of Cellino’s trucks but also receives a monthly donation check throughout the year.

Lucas’s journey with German Shepherds, Ace and Rex, reflects his profound love and dedication to his canine companions. Despite health challenges, Lucas spared no effort in ensuring the best care for Ace, who eventually crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Rex, his subsequent furry friend, became a familiar face at the Bark Park. Not only did Lucas immortalize Rex’s image on the park’s bathrooms, but he also donated Rex’s Rinse-Off station, a cherished addition that the community has wholeheartedly embraced.

Rex was his best buddy, inseparable, going everywhere with Lucas including to work with him every day. Rex loved the water! One afternoon at the beach, Rex had separated his shoulder and had to be carried out of the water. There was a wedding going on at the time. The wedding stopped momentarily as Rex was crying out loudly in pain. He went through 8 months of varying treatments at Ohio State University to heal his shoulder.

The heartbreaking tale of Rex’s battle with cancer showcases Lucas’s unwavering commitment to his pets’ well-being. Just before Christmas 2022, Rex was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. During a huge snowstorm, Lucas traveled back to the Veterinary School of Medicine at Cornell University, but they had no answers. Seeking a treatment that would help Rex, he then went to Pennsylvania State University the Veterinarian School of Medicine. From there he traveled to then Ohio State University where Rex was admitted. After numerous X-rays and scans, he received the crushing news that Rex’s cancer had no cure or treatment. Lucas even took him the vet school at Colorado State where they were incredible in trying to help Rex. Lucas brought Rex home ensuring his final days were filled with love, including a poignant trip to his favorite beach. Rex will live on in the hearts of loved ones and patrons of Lancaster Unleashed Bark Park. RIP buddy.

In the midst of his bustling life as a construction company owner and a self-insured business owner in the plumbing industry, Lucas finds joy in his relationship with his girlfriend, who shares his love for dogs. His recent involvement in discussions with Lancaster Unleashed Board Members and Erie County Parks Supervisor, Joe Smaczniak, about improving drainage at the Bark Park is another testament to his ongoing dedication.

Lucas, once again, generously offers his time, resources, supplies, and the expertise of his team to enhance the Bark Park for everyone. The Lancaster Unleashed community extends heartfelt gratitude for everything Lucas does, not just for us but for the entire Western New York community. With donations totaling approximately $80,000, including professional services, supplies, labor, expertise, and Rex’s Rinse-Off station, Cellino Plumbing and HVAC rightfully holds the title of the “Presenting Sponsor of Como Lake Bark Park.”

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, we embrace Lucas Cellino as our hero, making the world a better place—one dog at a time, one project at a time. Hugs and thanks for being our Valentine! And to all our readers, we hope you’ll consider Cellino the next time you’re in need of their professional expertise.

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