by JoAnn Serpico
Oh what a night!
The South Ballroom of the Donald Stephens Center was the setting for the 50th annual Man of the Year Gala. Chairpersons Christine Cerami and Joe Rosa planned a most extraordinary evening for all.
As the guests arrived, the pianist from the Ray Sassetti Orchestra was playing selections from Broadway musicals in the large foyer. Socializing and enjoyment of cocktails and a vast assortment of hot appetizers continued from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The ballroom, bright with yellow and white roses, added to the ambiance of the event. The Italian and American anthems were beautifully sung by Liliana Bartolotta to commence with the program. The two-tiered dais where 40 of our presidents and/or representatives of affiliated organizations and past recipients were seated during the program was most impressive. Each stood as they were introduced and remained standing in the name of unity until all were recognized.
President Emeritus Dominic DiFrisco welcomed all, and President Antonio Romanucci spoke of the accomplishments and benefits of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.
Mary Ann Barca, General Manager of Al Piemonte Dundee, introduced Al Piemonte, our most gracious and humble recipient of the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Humanitarian of the Year Award. More than 300 of his family friends and associates were present in his honor. His most sincere acceptance was touching, and everyone stood to applaud him twice during his speech.
The Robert G. Cimo Peacemaker Award was presented to Ronald Serpico, Mayor of Melrose Park, who was introduced by Father Claudio Holzer, former pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and a past Peacemaker recipient.
The president of the Women’s Division, Rosemary Ranallo, presented Roseann Piemonte with a bouquet of yellow roses. The president of the West Suburban Women’s Division, Laverne Marcheschi, presented Donna Serpico with a bouquet of yellow roses.
Scholarship recipient Dylan Sinn gave a very meaningful and appreciative acceptance. Father August Feccia gave the invocation followed by an elegant and delicious dinner.
Dancing and entertainment completed this outstanding and successful event.