The Mola Foundation’s 2013 Arcangelo Award Dinner and Fundraiser will long be remembered, with more than 800 guests gathering at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison to support a variety of causes and honor a true pillar of the community, Mr. Domenico Gambino, co-owner of Tony’s Finer Foods.
Honored guests included State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Secretary of State Jesse White, Italian Vice Consul General Marco Graziosi, Italian Senatore Renato Turano and the presidents of many Italian and Italian-American organizations.
In his welcoming speech, President Tony Copertino reminded the participants of the guiding principles of the Mola Foundation of Chicago, “to continue to help those in need and to honor those individuals who have helped the community at large.”
President Copertino pointed to the three words in the Mola Foundation logo — Educazione (Education), Cultura (Culture) and Carità (Charity) — and noted, “If you stop and think for a minute what those words signify, you will see that the Mola Foundation is fulfilling those words.”
Under the steady hand of Mola Foundation Vice President Pat Capriati, who served as the master of ceremonies for the gala event, the evening’s program flowed smoothly from the first words until the moment that Mr. Gambino stepped onto the stage to accept the coveted 2013 Arcangelo Award.
Son-in-law Jim Narnos, daughter Vita Massarelli and grandson Loreto Chiovari took to the podium to share the qualities that make Domenico a wonderful father, a caring father-in-law and an affectionate grandfather. The honor of calling Mr. Gambino to the stage to accept this special award was entrusted to his nephew and long-time business partner, Tony Ingraffia, co-founder of Tony’s Finer Food.
The stage was set, and the special moment that everyone had been waiting for had finally arrived. As Mr. Gambino approached the stage, the crowd rose to its feet and welcomed him with a thunderous applause.
Domenico Gambino, humble and proud man that he is, stepped behind the podium without a prepared speech in his hand, and addressed the crowd the way he speaks to all those who know, love and respect him, from his heart.
He first thanked President Copertino and the officers and board of the Mola Foundation for the honor bestowed upon him, and congratulated them for their generosity toward the needy. He reminded those in attendance how blessed and fortunate he is in being able to go to work each day with his family: “That’s what makes it all worthwhile.” And he also talked about the roots of his legendary generosity: “I came from Italy with very little, and now — with the help of God, my wonderful wife and family — that I have something, I want to share it with my community.”
Receiving donations at this year’s gala were Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Radio Maria, Casa Italia Summer Camp for Children, the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, Chicago Wheelchairs Bulls and Il Palio dei Capatosta in Mola di Bari, Italy.
The evening’s musical entertainment was provided by the fabulous Diamanti band, which kept the guests dancing into the early morning hours.