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Academic ace Fred Gardaphè

by Ryan Calabretta-Sajder The American Association of Teachers of Italian recently bestowed its Honorary Membership Award (Socio Onorario) upon longtime Fra Noi Associate Editor Fred Gardaphè. A pioneering voice in the field of Italian-American studies, Gardaphè recently gave a keynote lecture at AATI’s 2016 International Conference in Naples. A Distinguished Professor of English and Italian American Studies at Queens College/CUNY and the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Gardaphè directs the Italian/American Studies Program at Queens College and formerly directed the programs in Italian American and American studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Gardaphè is ...

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Amy Mazzolin earns prestigious Kelly Award

Catholic Charities has bestowed one of its most prestigious awards upon Fra Noi President Amy Mazzolin. The retired banker and noted philanthropist was presented with the Dennis F. Kelly Award at the venerable organization’s 99th annual board of directors meeting on Oct. 17 at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. Named after a revered past president of the organization, the award is given each year to a member of the board who exhibits outstanding service to the mission of Catholic Charities. A board member since 1989, Mazzolin has long supported the organization’s many efforts on behalf of veterans. Among them ...

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WW II Vet Leno Santacaterina takes Honor Flight to D.C.

  by Nancy Donohoe My dad, Leno Santacaterina, turned 90 in June. His life has been pretty full so far – married for 66 years to my mom, five children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren, with another on the way. He was born in Turin, Italy, and came to the US – to Chicago – when he was a child. Just as his family arrived, the Depression hit. He grew up speaking Italian and English, and watched as his parents developed their careers while they still managing to reach out to the many friends and relatives who arrived from ...

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Korean War Vet Italo Bove takes Honor Flight to D.C.

  It is 2 a.m., Saturday April 13, 2016. Italo Americo Bove, or “Bob” to his friends, rises out of bed. He has a 4a.m. appointment with 100 other Veterans. On this morning, forty WWII veterans and sixty-one Korean War veterans will gather at Midway Airport in Chicago to board Southwest Airlines, courtesy of Honor Flight Chicago. Honor Flight Chicago was founded in February of 2008 to recognize Chicagoland’s World War II and Korean War veterans by flying them, all-expense-paid to Washington DC for a day of honor, remembrance and celebration. To date, 6355 Chicago area veterans have made this ...

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Walgreens Exec Andrea Collaro earns national honor

Walgreens is fond of telling its loyal clientele that it’s “at the corner of Happy and Healthy.” If you’re looking for someone special at that intersection, someone who’s dedicate to making the happy and the healthy happen, you’re likely to find Andrea Collaro. As Senior Director of Brand Management and Product Development for the Walgreens Boots Alliance, Collaro oversees all products under the Walgreens banner. If it sounds like an incredible responsibility, it is — not just to Walgreens customers, but also to young women who look up to strong female business leaders. If anyone needs proof she’s a role ...

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Extraordinary healer Carmi Fazio

Becoming a healer is a calling and, certainly, many in the nursing field can rightfully claim that title. But in mid-April, Carmi Fazio — who works with Molina Healthcare of Illinois — was picked as one of three finalists for the CURE Media Group’s Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing. Fazio — who is Sicilian on her father’s side, Genovese and Romano on her mother’s — traces a direct line between her nursing skills and her family background. “Perhaps I am a bit biased but I have never met an Italian who wouldn’t help those in need,” says Fazio, who ...

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Crooning state trooper Jonn-Paul Oliveto

As he completed his studies to become an Illinois state trooper in 2010, Jonn-Paul Oliveto was pulled out of class and into a room where he stood opposite a captain, sergeant and master sergeant. To earn a passing mark, he had to sing the National Anthem. “I had an appointment to perform in front of them, without any rehearsal, so you can imagine my nerves,” recalls Oliveto, a trooper who works the Chicago area for the state police today. “But I’d come up with an idea: Instead of having the bagpipes play the National Anthem for our graduation ceremony, I ...

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Skinhead-turned-peace-advocate Christian Picciolini

Photo by Mark Seliger. At least the story starts in familiar fashion: Christian Picciolini’s parents emigrated from Italy to the United States, where they would meet, marry, raise a family and work hard at building a successful small business. But without his parents around to attend his school functions and sports game, Picciolini turned to a heartbreaking place to find his identity: the American white supremacist skinhead movement. He wasn’t even 14 at the time. “Hell, I had no idea who I wanted to be — aside from Rocky Balboa, of course,” says Picciolini, who has Italian lineage on both ...

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Roseland bard CJ Martello

  Italian Americans have many reasons to celebrate the enclaves that nurtured immigrants and changed families: Taylor Street, 24th & Oakley, Little Sicily on the Near North Side and Melrose Park are just a few that come to mind. On the Far South Side, Roseland became a bustling center for Italian life and culture. One man has taken on the laudable task of keeping Roseland’s memories and magnificence alive: C.J. Martello. Arguably, Martello knows Roseland and the adjoining Pullman and Kensington neighborhoods better than anyone. He was married at St. Anthony Italian Catholic Church in 1972, and has steeped himself ...

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Cavaliere Umberto “Tony” Turano

  Italian Consul General Adriano Monti presented Umberto “Tony” Turano with the Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Stella d’Italia at the consulate’s Festa della Repubblica celebration on June 2 at the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago. The award was bestowed by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano upon Tony in honor of his contributions on the business and cultural fronts to promote Calabrian and Italian culture in America. “It was a tremendous honor to have my work in the community acknowledged in this way,” Tony says. “But my greatest honor has been to work with my brothers for the ...

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