The Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA) held its annual Italian Hall of Fame and Special Recognition Award Dinner on Oct. 14 at the Venetian Club in Rockford.
Fr. James Ciamataro and Frank Valentine were inducted into the Hall of Fame, Bove’s Auto and Truck Repair received a Special Recognition Award for Business, and Dan Appino received a Special Recognition Award for Sports.
The awardees were also recognized at the annual Columbus Day Mass on Oct. 15 at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Rockford.
Ciamataro served as pastor of St. Anthony’s from 1988-2022. Realizing that the histories of the church and Rockford’s Italian-American community are closely linked, he created a museum celebrating both legacies in the church’s Pedrini Center.
Valentine has served on the GRIAA board for 28 years, and has volunteered at the association’s Festa Italiana for three decades. He is a member of the parish’s finance committee and Holy Name Society as well as the St. Bridget Church’s Knights of Columbus Council 15530.
Coach Appino led Boylan Catholic High School to two state football titles, and Auburn High School to the playoffs five times. The Auburn Knights had 43 wins and earned a NIC-10 title during his tenure, with 20 of his Knights going on to play college football. A school counselor as well, he has advised more than 9,000 students.
Bove’s Auto and Truck Service in south Rockford is celebrating 60 years at its location on Ferguson Street, where an Italian-owned auto repair business has existed for 100 years. Bove’s is run by three brothers and a sister as well as one of their sons. They are known for their technical expertise as well as their outstanding customer service.
GRIAA’s annual Italian Hall of Fame and Special Recognition Banquet honors Rockford-area Italian Americans who have made significant contributions to the Italian-American community and the community at large. Nominations come from the community, and the honorees are selected by the GRIAA Hall of Fame Committee.