SACA honors Cannizzaro

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The Sicilian American Cultural Association held its annual Medal of Merit dinner on Sept. 16 Cucina Biagio in Harwood Heights. This year’s recipient was attorney Sam F. Cannizzaro. (773-454-4771)

Sam F. Cannizzaro

Cannizzaro is a Sicilian American who has lived on the Northwest Side of Chicago all his life. He is a family law attorney and partner of the downtown Chicago law firm of Birnbaum, Haddon, Gelfman & Arnoux, LLC.

As an attorney, Cannizzaro has served multiple terms on the Illinois State Bar Association’s Assembly as well as a committee chairperson. He has been involved with the Chicago Bar Association, the American Bar Association and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He recently received the Justinian Society of Lawyers’ Judge Gerald L. Sbarboro Award for mentoring younger lawyers.

His love of courtroom trials has led him to volunteer as a moot court judge on behalf of several associations in gratitude for the moot court experiences he had as a law student at Loyola University’s School of Law. A true beneficiary of the Jesuit educational experience, he also graduated from the Loyola University of Chicago School of Business and Loyola Academy High School in Wilmette.

In his neighborhood of Edgebrook, Cannizzaro served for years on the board of directors and as president of the Edgebrook/Sauganash Chamber of Commerce. He has been a wish granter for Make-A-Wish Illinois for 15 years, a service he finds quite rewarding. He has served as a parish cantor/song leader for decades, beginning in 1972 at Queen of All Saints Church while he was in eighth grade, and at St. Mary of the Woods Church since 1976, his senior year of high school.

Cannizzaro also served for years as the President of The ChiSox Club, a fan club that raised money for Camp One Step at a Time, a retreat for children with serious illnesses who are given a chance to leave the hospital and enjoy a week-long outdoor camp under the supervision of medical providers.

Cannizzaro has been involved in SACA the past 15 years, including holding the position of president for two years and is currently the organization’s President-elect. He has served on SACA’s Board of Directors for years and this past year has been its first sergeant-at-Aams.

Cannizzaro’s family includes his wife of 31 years, Cindy, a fellow counselor-at-law, and two children, Francesca and Vito. He lives next door to his 102-year-old Sicilian-American mother, Frances.

Cannizzaro worked at Monastero’s Ristorante, the birthplace and driving force of SACA, as a bus boy and a singing waiter for 11-1/2 years, throughout high school, college and law school. Ironically, his award will be the first in S.A.C.A.’s nearly 25-year history that is NOT being presented at Monastero’s. The event will take place at the organization’s new home, Cucina Biagio.



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