The Columbian Club of Chicago installed its 2014 officers at a black-tie-optional gala on Jan. 25 at the Oak Park Country Club River Grove. Incoming president Peter A. Volpe offered the following comments:
Columbian Club members, fellow officers, friends and distinguished guests,
I am honored to serve as the president of the Columbian Club of Chicago in 2014. Michael Spilotro, I want to thank you for your dedication in 2013 and for all your hard work. I surely have big shoes to fill.
As I step into this role, I am humbled by those in whose footsteps I follow. As I rose in the ranks in the club I wanted to express thanks for those who were so helpful to me.
In 2006, I was sponsored into the club by Guy Papa and Gabe Caporale. Thank you both for considering me for membership and the opportunity you have provided me. I can’t express sufficiently how important the Columbian Club is in my life. In my first years as anoOfficer I was guided by Bob DiSilvestro and Joseph Locallo, I want to thank you both for your wisdom and friendship.
Before I speak of 2014 and my vision for the club, I wanted to tell you a little about myself and my family. Ever since I was a child, I was proud to be an Italian American. I was raised in a household in which we were so proud of our heritage. My family is primarily from Sicily.
My grandpa Sam was the last to emigrate from Sicily from a small town near Palermo, Porticello. He came alone in 1912, he was a mere 13 years old when they sent him and three other siblings abroad due to a depression in Sicily. They never saw each other again. He was a great man, who worked one job for over 55 years and was married for over 60 years to my Nani Jo. He was the most content man put on this earth because he understood what happiness is: a loving family, a roof over his head and good food on the table. Earlier last year, I was able to realize a dream and went to his hometown in Porticello and got to see the bedroom he was born in.
We all lived in the same home — me, my little brother Paul, mother Barbara, my dad Chuck, my Popi Sam and Noni Jo. I grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago in a bungalow that my grandparents owned, they lived upstairs in the in-law apartment and we lived on the main floor. I was spoiled rotten. I would wake up in the morning to my Nani making me breakfast and laying out my clothes for the day and come home every night to a hot dinner from my Mom. We always ate together as a family, and no one took a bite of food until my mother sat down. My parents have been gone now for some time; I wish they could be here with us tonight. I know they would be proud of my accomplishment.
In 1980 I became a banker, right out of Holy Cross High School, and put myself through college at night. In 1981, while on the job one day, I met the love of my life, Elsa. On our first date, she didn’t show her attraction to me as she gave me a handshake rather than a kiss. But after a couple of weeks passed, she couldn’t resist my Sicilian good looks. We married in 1984 and have been happy ever since. Just four short years later I was blessed with a lovely daughter, Laura. She is the apple of my eye and I love her so very dearly. She is smart, witty and talented in so many ways.
I am also so very fortunate to have not only a brother, but a best friend, in my brother Paul. He and I couldn’t be more different in many ways, but we are so much the same. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t speak. Even though he is my younger brother, I have always looked to him for advice and guidance.
Getting back to my career in banking, I have been a banker now for over 30 years, with my last four years at ABC Bank. I am the Vice President of Retail Banking and Wealth Management. I would like to thank Sam Scott and Colette Loesher for believing in me and providing me the opportunity to provide a good life for my family.
In 2014, I will lead the club into our 75th year, and I will draw on all your collective wisdoms to guide me in the right direction. My objectives for this year are many, and in formulating my objectives, I have had many conversations with member who have been in the club for much longer than I have. And while I understand things change with time, I believe that we must bring back some of the past that endeared the club to our membership.
I plan on bringing back programs to many of our meetings; hosting events that engage our families and friends, such as ballroom dancing, our boat cruise, an outing to Ravinia and a club trip that everyone can fit into their schedules and budget. I cannot do this on my own; I will need my fellow officers, directors and members to help me out.
Dr Frank Trocchio told me once, that you get from the club what you put into it, and he couldn’t be more correct. I plan on reenergizing the membership and find ways to get them out. This is truly our challenge, and I will be asking for all of your assistance with this goal.
I want to thank my good friends for coming out this evening. We are the Columbian Club of Chicago proud and passionate group. Together we can make 2014 one of our greatest years.
Thank You from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity, your trust and your support.
God Bless us all.
2014 Columbian Club of Chicago Officers and Directors
Peter A. Volpe, President
John L. Ferrentino, 1st Vice President
Jonathan L. Zivojnovic, 2nd Vice President
Anthony J. Ambrose 3rd Vice President
Jack P. Cannata, Secretary
Vincent A. Maietta, Treasurer
Stuart J. Caravello, Sergeant-at-Arms
2014 One-Year Directors
John L. Ambrogi, Alan Comella, John F. Curry, George J. DePalma, Robert S. DiFiglio
2014 Two-Year Directors
Ross A. Morizzo, Mark M. Corrado, Camen P. Forte, Victor M. Guerrieri, Christopher M. Derks
2014 Columbian Club Charitable Foundation Officers and Trustees
Gabriel J. Caporale, Chairman
Daniel A. Corrado, Vice Chairman
Michael Spilotro, Secretary
Vincent P. Morreale, Treasurer
Frank Lucchese, Trustee
Anthony J. Morizzo, Trustee
Dr. Frank A. Trocchio, Trustee
Sen. Renato G. Turano, Trustee
Peter A. Volpe, Trustee