The Grand Lodge of Illinois/Wisconsin, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America Celebrating its 94th Annual Columbus Banquet on Oct. 6 at the White Eagle Banquets in Niles.
Margurite Rowley, Columbus Banquet Chair, welcomes the guests and introduced the Master of Ceremony for the evening, the Honorable Anthony Calderone, Mayor of Forest Park. The MC introduced the Grand Lodge Officers, the Deputy Consul of Italy, the Columbus Day Queen, and the award recipients as they entered the hall.
Highlighting the evening were the presentations of the 2018 Columbus Patriot Award and the 2018 Humanitarian Award. In addition, the Illinois Sons of Italy Foundation awarded seven scholarships to Italian-American students who are continuing their education.
Receiving the Columbus Patriot Award was the Honorable Angelo “Skip” Saviano, President of the Village of Elmwood Park. He was honored for his many years of public service and leadership in the Illinois House of Representatives, where he recently retired as Assistant Minority Leader. He had sponsored and supported legislation to aid the elderly, children and people of all backgrounds. Saviano is known as a staunch advocate for senior citizens and individuals with special needs. He is recognized as a champion for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He is a strong supporter of public safety.
Vito M. D’Ambrosio, President of the Italian American Executives of Transportation, was honored as OSIA’s 2018 Humanitarian. D’Ambrosio was born in Ricigliano, Salerno, Italy and came to America in 1958 at the age of 4. He became president of IAET in 2004 and remains as current president. Under his leadership, the IAET has made significant contribution in the areas of education, community services, good relations in the community and charitable contributions. In addition to serving as president of IAET, he has served as Executive Director for Casa Italia and a Board Member of the Columbian Club.
In presenting the awards, Grand Lodge President Marie Marsalli stated “both gentlemen truly deserve being honored by OSIA and demonstrate their true love and passion for their Italian heritage and culture in their daily lives. They serve their community and country with pride, respect and dignity.”
Receiving the Leone d’Oro Lodge #2700 scholarship was Lena Padua, daughter of Michael Padua and Lou Ann D’Antonio; Noah Baer, son of Matt and Rosemary Baer, received the Marina Cartage, Inc. scholarship; Sophia Baer, daughter of Matt and Rosemary Baer, received the Chicago Heights Lodge #1430 scholarship; Thomas Fanelli, son of Reid and Dalia Fanelli, received the Americo Vespucci Lodge #1722 scholarship; Nicole Fanelli, daughter of Reid and Dalia Fanelli, received the First National Bank and Bank of Bourbonnais scholarship; Kyle McNamara, son of Michael and Kelly McNamara received the Illinois Sons of Italy Foundation and the James DeLeo scholarship; and Nicole Maimon, daughter of Ira and Barbra Maimon received the Marina Cartage, Inc. scholarship.
Attending the banquet were Ms. Manuela Principe, Deputy Consul of Italy, Elizabeth Cavalieri-Konopacki, Columbus Queen, JoAnn Serpico, Executive Director of JCCIA, Rev. John Belmonte, OSIA Chaplain, Rev. Anthony Pizzo, IAET Chaplain, Grand Lodge Council Officers, lodge presidents and members from the filial lodges.
Entertainment for the evening was provided by Nino Folino.
Photos by Tim Townsend