Eleven distinguished Italian Americans were honored with Leonardo da Vinci Awards of Excellence at the 17th annual reception and ceremony on May 6, 2018, at the Roma Lodge in Racine, Wisconsin. The event is hosted annually by the Grand Lodge of Illinois and Wisconsin, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America.
The Master of Ceremony and event Chairman was Frank Schiro, Grand Lodge First Vice President. Schiro introduced Richard R. Della Croce, national Fifth Vice President, who sang both the American and Italian national anthems. Grand Lodge President Marie Marsalli was introduced and welcomed the honorees and guests.
In attendance were OSDIA’s National President Vera Girolami of California; Arlene Nunziati, First Vice President, Grand Lodge of California; and the Hon. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, and the First Lady of Wisconsin, Tonette Tarentino Walker.
In the spirit of da Vinci, the Order recognized the outstanding accomplishments of the 11 honorees in their various fields. In presenting the award, President Marsalli stated, “Our honorees are truly professionals and walk among giants in their chosen field. They are outstanding and respected citizens in their community. They are profoundly proud of their Italian heritage, its traditions and culture. We wish them continued success in their endeavors.”
Receiving awards were Anthony J. Bruno (Community Leadership); Joseph T. Emanuele (Community Leadership); Deacon Russell Missureli (Community Leadership); Tonette Tarantino Walker (Community Leadership); Prof. Joseph Mangiamele (Education); Wisconsin State Rep. Peter Barca (Government); CJ Martello (Journalism); Honorable John J. DiMott (Jurisprudence); John Salza (Law); Luigi Caira, D.D.S. (Medicine); and Kathryn A. Occhipinti, M.D. (Medicine).
Guests enjoyed a delicious noon buffet featuring Italian dishes prepared by the Roma Lodge chefs. Homemade Italian biscotti, cannoli and fresh fruit were served as dessert. Entertainment was provided by DJ John.
— Photos by Tim Townsend
Provided by the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Grand Lodge of Illinois/Wisconsin