by Robin Iori
On September 12, the 2012 installation and awards dinner for the Justinian Society of Chicago honored several highly regarded, dedicated professionals who have given selflessly of their time and talent to the Italian American community here. Held at the Chicago Renaissance Hotel for the first time, Antonio M. Romanucci, of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, served as emcee and chair for the dinner at which Gregg A. Garofalo, managing attorney of Garofalo Law Group, was sworn in as president of the 2012-2013 year.
Honorees included Franco A. Coladipietro, a partner with Amari-Locallo and an Illinois State Representative from the 45th District, who received the Award of Excellence, and Dominic DiFrisco, a senior consultant at the global public relations firm, Edelman, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award
Coladipietro has made significant contributions to both his professional and local community. He served as chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the ISBA and helped to create the Children’s Assistance Fund to raise money for children’s waiting rooms in courthouses and other children’s services throughout Illinois. Among the many honors he has received is being named a Top Forty Lawyers under Forty and ISBA Young Lawyer of the Year as well as serving on the ISBA Board of Governors and several other community organizations. He is completing his third term in the Illinois House of Representatives.
DiFrisco is one of the most revered voices of the Chicago-area Italian-American community. He also has received numerous awards and served as a member of the Illinois Human Relations Commission, chair of Our Lady of Pompeii Shrine and a founding member of the Italian American Human Relations Foundation. DiFrisco is Antonio Romanucci’s Godfather, which made his introduction a special moment for both men. DiFrisco grew up in New York and began his career in public relations at Alitlia, eventually coming to Chicago with the airline. He is also well known as the longtime announcer for Chicago’s Columbus Day parade and is a commendatore of the republic of Italy.
In addition to Coladipietro and DiFrisco, four very deserving individuals were given Presidential Services awards by incoming President Garofalo. They were Richard Caifano, the Honorable Gloria Coco, the Honorable Bruno J. Tassone and Salvator Tornatore. President Garofalo noted that each recipient had demonstrated “a relentless dedication to the Justinian Society.”
In addition to President Garofalo, the other officers for the 2012-2013 year were installed. They are Judge Robert W. Bertucci, First Vice President; Anita M. DeCarlo, Second Vice President; Jessica DePinto, Third Vice President; Frank A. Sommario, Treasurer; and Michael Bonamarte, Secretary.
This year’s event brought many changes to this grand event including a new venue, new seating, a change in the cocktail hour, and new entertainment. Despite all of the changes, emcee Romanucci kept the proceedings moving forward and on schedule. In fact, the evening ended only four minutes late, an accomplishment considering so many worthy recognitions were on the agenda for the Justinians that evening.