With Jo Ann Serpico as its Woman of the Year, Casa Italia celebrated another hugely successful 50th anniversary gala. Friends from across the community flocked to Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove Village on Feb. 8 to honor Serpico, and the program book was filled with words of praise.
“There’s nobody who works as hard on as many fronts as you do,” Casa Chairman Angelo Castanza wrote. “You set the gold standard for community leadership that we all aspire to.”
The admiration continued to flow during the presentations that evening.
“Where would we be without our dear friend Jo Ann?” asked Fr. Richard Fragomeni, rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, inspiring a round of applause. “And so we crown you Joanna Incoronata!”
Jo Ann’s son, Joseph, added, “She has faithfully, beautifully, gratefully and successfully showcased in perfect proportion both our history and our heritage.” Jo Ann accepted her honor with poise and humility, noting that, “Seeing you all here is, in itself, an award. I’m so proud to be the recipient as we celebrate this landmark event.”
Gabriella Rago and Lilliana Bartolotta sang the American and Italian national anthems, respectively; the color guards were Cadet Sgt. Benjamin Vie and Cadet Pfc. Colin Bonoccorsi of St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin; Steve Corbo led the live auction; Fr. Giovanni Bizzotto, c.s., delivered the invocation; and Diamanti provided the after-dinner entertainment.
Casa Italia is grateful for the patronage of Michelangelo sponsors the Calabresi in America Organization, the Naccarato Family Foundation, Rex Carton Co., Supreme Lobster and Seafood Co., Tony’s Fresh Market and the Turano Baking Co.; da Vinci sponsors Assurance, R.J. Augustine and Associates CPAs, the Columbian Club of Chicago, Lisa Perkins, the Sicilian Heritage Museum and Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants; and Dante sponsors Buona Beef, Salerno’s Rosedale Chapels and Wintrust Community Banks.
— Photos by Lollino