The Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization honored Joe Calafiore as Humanitarian of the Year at its Honor & Hope Gala on April 18 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison.
When you first see Joe, the words “Serve and Protect” seem so appropriate, and not just because he was a police officer. He’s an imposing figure; a big guy with slick black hair. When he’s serious, he’s very serious, but somehow you know he wouldn’t hurt a fly. And when he smiles you know everything is going to be okay.
That’s why, when his name came up as a candidate for our Humanitarian of the Year award, all anyone could think was, “well deserved.”
Joe is the son of an immigrant mother, Maryann Burdi of Bari, Italy, and an American born papa, Joe Sr. He has a brother, Michael, and two sisters, Joanne and Maria.
When Joe was 18 years old, after graduating from Elmwood Park High School, he became a police cadet. Three years later, he started a 14-year career with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department. He was Chief of the 3rd Municipal District. “Officer Friendly” used his calm but firm approach to gain respect, friendships and an excellent reputation.
He moved into the Office of the Secretary of State first as an assistant manager, then advancing to his current position as manager of the Lombard facility. He’s now in his 23rd year.
He married Francine Incavo in 2004, and these two best friends are known for their enthusiasm, kindness and love of life. The boss of the house is their dog, Rocky.
Joe has served as an officer with CIACO and on the board of directors. He’s an outstanding fundraiser and chairs the Honor & Hope Ad Book Committee.
Joe will tell you, no he’ll show you, he’s a sports fan by the logoed shirts he likes to wear. But his real passion is his cars: always stylish, always clean.
We’re not sure if Joe has ever turned down an opportunity to help someone, but if he did, it was only because of a scheduling conflict or illness or maybe because he was fast asleep. If you know Joe, you know he’s a man with a great smile and a heart to match. This officer is a gentleman and we’re glad he’s ours.
For more than a quarter of a century, the Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization has dedicated itself to helping those in need; honoring those who serve community and country; bringing joy and hope to the less fortunate; and giving of our time, energy and talents without thought of reward.
The club distributes 50-pound crates of food (turkey included) to more than 600 families for Thanksgiving, gives toys to needy children at Christmastime, and awards scholarships to deserving high school seniors and financial assistance to wounded war veterans.
CIACO raise funds for these endeavors through our Honor and Hope Gala, annual golf outing and Friday Night Fights.
For details, call 630-400-9908 or visit www.ciaco.org.