(The following was provided by the Grand Lodge of IL/WI, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America)
Eight distinguished professional Italian Americans were presented with Leonardo da Vinci Awards of Excellence at the 20th annual Reception and Ceremony on July 18, 2021, at White Eagle Banquets in Niles. The Grand Lodge of IL/WI, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, hosted the event.
Paul Loparco, President of the Grand Lodge, welcomed the honorees and guests and thanked them for their participation. He then introduced Marie Marsalli, Immediate Past President of the Grand Lodge and Chair of the event, who invited the assemble to share a day filled with friendship, love, pride and a celebration of our Italian heritage at its finest.
Nino Folino gave a wonderful performance of the American and Italian National Anthems, and Dan Welter, Deacon and Chancellor with the Archdioceses of Chicago, gave the benediction. The Rev. Richard Fragomeni, Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and Chaplain for the Order, gave the blessing, speaking of the works of da Vinci and of his humility and greatness.
In the spirit of da Vinci, the Order recognized the outstanding accomplishments of our eight honorees in their various fields. Master of Ceremonies Richard R. Della Croce, OSDIA National 4th Vice President, re-introduced President Loparco, who stated the following before presenting the awards: “Our honorees are truly professionals and walk among giants in their chosen fields. They are outstanding and respected citizens in their community. They are proud of their Italian heritage, its traditions and culture. We wish them continued success in their endeavors.”
Receiving the prestigious da Vinci Award of Excellence were Richard O. Biondi (Communications), Joseph Anthony Farina (Communications), Dan O’Donnell (Communications), Gene R. Montalbano Sr. (Community Service), Ronald Centanni (Education), Cav. Uff. Linda Scolaro (Education), Anthony Arena (Entrepreneur) and David Spano (Finance).
Guests enjoyed a delicious buffet luncheon prepared by the White Eagle Banquets chefs. Nino Folino provided entertainment.
— Photos by Tim Townsend