Mr. Baratta has been active in OSIA for nearly 20 years, holding leadership position at the local, state and national levels. In 1994, he founded the Law Enforcement Lodge #2680 in Chicago and, after serving there for nine years, was elected state president of the Grand Lodge of Illinois in 2003. Four years later, he became national president of the Sons of Italy Commission for Social Justice.
During the Order’s 2009 convention, he was elected OSIA’s national first vice president. For the past four years in that position, he has worked to retain and increase OSIA’s membership. At his own expense, he has crisscrossed the country, representing the OSIA national board at lodge events and new lodge installation ceremonies while encouraging the state Grand Lodges to “keep the lion on the move.”
A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Mr. Baratta grew up in a close-knit family with roots in Calabria. His parents were married for more than 60 years. His father immigrated to the United States at age 16 and worked as a tailor for about 50 years. As a young boy, Mr. Baratta worked in his Italian grandparents’ grocery store.
After attending Miami-Dade Jr. College in Miami, Florida, he received a bachelor’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines. After graduation, Mr. Baratta worked as a buyer for men’s clothing at Hart Schaffner & Marx, first in Minneapolis and then in Chicago.
After 15 years with the company, he changed careers and joined the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. He began as a deputy in the Civil Process Department; was promoted to sergeant; and then became supervisor of the Civil Division. He retired in 2008 after 20 years in law enforcement.
Joining Mr. Baratta in his upcoming administration are the following officers, all serving a first term in their new positions:
* Joseph A. Russo of Massachusetts, National First Vice President
* Daniel J. Longo of Maryland, National Second Vice President
* Anthony F.M. Spaziani of Ohio, National Third Vice Preisdent
* Vera Girolami of California, National Fourth Vice President
* Nancy Di Fiore Quinn of New York, National Fifth Vice President
* Thomas Lupo of New York, National Financial Secretary
* Frank J. Panessa of Maryland, National Treasurer
* James DiStefano of Massachusetts, National Recording Secretary
* Robert A. Bianchi, Esq. of New Jersey, National Orator
* Anthony J. Panaggio Jr. of Massachusetts, National Historian
The Rev. R. Adam Forno of New York will continue in his role as the organization’s national chaplain.
Outgoing National President Joseph DiTrapani of New York was elected to lead the Sons of Italy Foundation, OSIA’s philanthropic branch. Established in 1959, the SIF has raised more than $125 million for educational scholarships, medical research, disaster relief, cultural preservation and other special projects.
Carlo Carlozzi Jr. of Connecticut was chosen as president of the Commission for Social Justice, OSIA’s anti-defamation branch. The CSJ fights the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the U.S. entertainment, advertising and media industries. It also collaborates with other groups to ensure that people of all races, religions and cultures are treated with dignity and respect.
In addition to electing the new leadership, about 200 OSIA national officers, trustees, state presidents, national delegates, and their guests were present to review OSIA’s last two years of activities and set the organization’s administrative, philanthropic and cultural agendas for 2013-2015.
To learn more, visit www.osia.org.