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2014 Person of the Year Gala

by Joanne Spata

The evening started with the elegant sound of a string quartet, but ended with a bang at the 42nd annual Man of the Year dinner dance hosted by the Italian Cultural Center at Casa Italia. Our honoree was Dominic Sergi, a longtime Casa board member and founding partner and CEO of REX Electric & Technologies.

I have said it before and I will say it again: Exciting things happen when Dominic Sergi is involved. Dominic is a major force in the betterment of our community. His leadership, dedication and determination are legendary. I am truly grateful to Dominic for creating a new level of excellence in supporting Casa Italia and through his many other philanthropic endeavors.

Dominic Sergi has a lot in common with Casa Italia. They are both dedicated to their cultural heritage and the support of all that is good, noteworthy and educational. They are incredibly intelligent, creative and entertaining. And they are each priceless treasures to everyone who is fortunate enough to be involved with them.

I’d also like to acknowledge Dan Corrado and Josette Mentesana Weber, Chairman and Co-Chairperson of our 2014 gala event. Together they worked tirelessly to make the evening the success that it was. I also deeply appreciate the hard work of Casa’s Dinner Dance Committee, our Board of Directors and dedicated staff who work tireless throughout the year to make all things Casa the best that they can be. Nothing would move forward without our staff of Vito D’Ambrosio, Darrell Marchioretto and Nancy Cometa. Grazie a tutti.

The 2014 Person of the Year Gala is a crucial source of funding for Casa Italia, our little slice of Italy just 10 minutes south of O’Hare Airport.

Our beautifully landscaped grounds provide a treat for your eyes, mind and soul; where you can partake of our numerous outdoor festivals, concerts, bocce and soccer tournaments. You can tour our Cultural Center museums and our art galleries; as well as, our extensive library. Italian language classes are offered for both children and adults; along with our renowned Italian Language Immersion Summer Camp for kids. You can come and take Italian cooking classes, or sit back and enjoy our film festival of first run Italian films with English subtitles. And you can join us for a spiritual re-awakening at Sunday Mass, a visit to our Stations of the Cross Garden or while ascending the marble staircase of our Holy Hill of Calvary. And this is only a portion of what Casa Italia has to offer!

Deeply rooted in our heritage and branching out to ensure our future; together we begin our capital campaign with a first level goal of $500,000. With your support we can keep the lights on at Casa Italia, literally, as we raise funds for a new transformer, electrical service and an update to our wiring and fixtures. We will also be making improvements to our HVAC system to preserve our priceless and culturally significant collections in our art gallery, museums, and library. We invite you to become a supporter of Casa Italia and help us to preserve our treasured history and culture for generations to come.

As Chairperson of the Board of Directors, it is my pleasure to invite you to join us at Casa Italia, where you can re-awaken your inner Italian. And if you are able, we ask you to join in supporting our capital campaign and help invest in the future of Casa Italia. We always look forward to discussing plans for our growth and development and how we can help shape the future of the Italian-American community together.

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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.