WARREN - When Marty Cohen looks up from his desk, above his computer monitor and into the face of a John Lennon poster, he isn't necessarily re-living the 1970s.
Cohen doesn't live in the past these days, unless you count the times he dresses up in his Ringo Starr wig to play drums in Beatles tribute band Revolution.
Musician is only one of the hats worn by the downtown Warren businessman, who also works tirelessly on projects for several different charitable and community organizations.
That's the reason retired electrical contractor Bill Horton nominated Cohen as a Community Star, a program sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle and Trumbull 100 that singles out individuals for their civic efforts and pride or for special acts of charity or heroism.
''Marty has always helped out without looking for any praise. He sort of flies under the radar,'' Horton said.
The way Cohen figures it, the community involvement is pretty much in his blood.
''My dad never took a civics class, but he had plenty of civic pride,'' Cohen said. His father Marshall started Mickey's Army & Navy in 1948 on a section of Pine Avenue where the police officers now park their cars in the lot at headquarters.
''My father escaped what was going on in Europe in 1939 and came to the land of opportunity. He loved free America. He didn't spend as much time as he wanted giving back. He was too busy building up the business,'' said Cohen.
But Cohen, who graduated from college and then came back to Warren to learn the family business, always seems to be involved in one thing or another that he feels helps the community.
''It's a tough thing to answer why I do what I do. It just sort of evolves. I don't want to sit on a board just to be a board member. It has to mean something to me. I want to learn something from it,'' Cohen said.
Even though a lot of Cohen's civic work goes unnoticed, Warren Municipal Judge Terry Ivanchak noted that Cohen, a fellow Lions Club member, was the recipient of the 2008-09 Melvin Jones Fellowship award handed down by Lions Club International.
''This is an international award that isn't given to most Lions members,'' Ivanchak said. ''Marty is always there when you need him. When we collect eyeglasses for the needy. They all go to Mickey's Army & Navy, and Marty ships them to our distributor in Cincinnati, no questions asked.''
Another judge, W. Wyatt McKay, who Cohen has coffee with most weekday mornings, praised Cohen for his leadership. ''Marty is just a wonderful community leader,'' McKay said. ''He's always concerned about downtown. He tackles these projects for charity without any compensation. And I know for a fact how much he is concerned about downtown Warren,'' McKay said. ''The guy is a tremendous asset to the Friends of Scouting.''
When attorney Ned Gold, who serves in Trumbull 100 with Cohen, wanted to get the ball rolling on Foodstock an event last November to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank he counted on Cohen to organize and solicit help from bands and performers.
''Sometimes Marty puts his own interests secondary to the interests of the organization or the city for example,'' Gold said. ''Marty puts his financial life on the line for Downtown.''
''I just know him as a great guy with a kind heart,'' said Ken Haidaris, owner of Sunrise Inn who partners with Cohen in a promotion venture to stage summer concerts at the Warren Community Amphitheatre.
Cohen and Haidaris took over after the death of the former promoter and formed Sunrise Entertainment and began what's known as ''River Rock at the Amp.''
''Marty has a good eye for talent too, since he's a musician himself,'' Haidaris said.