The Grand Lodge of Illinois & Wisconsin, Order Sons of Italy in America, hosted its 88th annual Columbus Banquet on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, at Villa Brunetti.
Richard and Christine Della Croce, chairpersons for the event, welcomed the guests and the master of ceremonies for the evening, the Honorable Anthony Calderone, mayor of Forest Park, who introduced the Grand Lodge Officers, guests and dignitaries.
Receiving the award for Humanitarian of 2012 was Frank Amaro, Illinois state commander of the Italian American War Veterans. In presenting the award, Grand Lodge President Marie Marsalli said, “Frank is truly deserving of this award as he devotes countless time and effort in assisting veterans and their families. He also supports many programs in his community of Berwyn.”
A special commemorative ceremony was held for the Italian-American veterans in attendance. Thirty-four veterans were honored with a certificate of appreciation from the Grand Lodge of Illinois and the Illinois Sons of Italy Foundation. During the ceremony, entertainer Nino Folino played the armed forces marching songs and performed “God Bless the U.S.A.” at the close of the ceremony.
Guests and dignitaries in attendance included Grand Lodge officers; filial lodge presidents; Alessandro Motta, Consul General of Italy; Mauro Glorioso, representing the JCCIA; and Columbus Day Queen Olivia Smaniotto.
The Illinois Sons of Italy Foundation also awarded scholarships to Cody Sabo, son of Michael and Gina Sabo; Maria Giacchino, daughter of Jerome and Susan Giacchino; Mary Spedale, daughter of Michael and Kathleen Spedale; Michael LaBanca, son of Joseph and Mary Beth LaBanca; Jenna Martin, daughter of Dennis and Jeanne Martin; Clara Capriotti, daughter of Fred and Jeanne Capriotti; Robert Bavone, son of Frank and Carol Bavone; and Mandi Lynn Ayala, daughter of Daniel and Rebecca Ayala.