The 87th annual Columbus Banquet hosted by the Grand Lodge of Illinois and Wisconsin, Order Sons of Italy in America, was held on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011, at Villa Brunetti in Franklin Park.
Stephen Martini, chairman for the event, welcomed the guests, and the emcee for the evening, the Honorable Anthony Calderone, Mayor of Forest Park, introduced the Grand Lodge officers, guests and dignitaries.
Receiving OSIA’s 2011 Leadership Award was the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii as “Pillar of the Italian American Community for a Century.” In presenting the award, Grand Lodge President Marie Marsalli stated: “The Shrine has been our spiritual leader for the past 100 years. Our hope is that this pillar of strength and beacon of light continues to shine for the community for another cent’anni.” Accepting the award on behalf of the Shrine was the Rev. Richard N. Fragomeni, Ph.D., rector of the Shrine.
Guests and dignitaries in attendance included Grand Lodge officers and filial lodge presidents; National First Vice President Anthony J. Baratta; His Excellency Alessandro Motta, Consul General of Italy; Mauro Glorioso, representing the JCCIA; and Columbus Day Queen Bianca Scola.
The Illinois Sons of Italy Foundation awarded scholarships to Teresa Ann Ciambrone, daughter of Gregory and Tamara Ciambrone; Abigail Young, daughter of Ron and Deanna Young; Alex Passett, son of Douglas and Lynn Passett; Lauren Piccirillo, daughter of James and Donata Piccirillo; Angelica Lauetta, daughter of Joseph and Cindi Lauletta; Anthony Pontarelli, son of Claudio and Nancy Pontarelli; and Michael David Saggio, son of David and Kathleen Saggio.
The invocation was given in both Italian and English by the Rev. John Belmonte, Grand Lodge Chaplain. Entertainment was provided by Nino Folino.