More than 400 members, honorees and guests gathered on April 16 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison for CIACO’s annual Honor and Hope Gala. This year’s gala honored Humanitarian of the Year John McCallion. In addition, 20 scholarships were awarded to college-bound students who qualified based on financial need and academic achievement.
The event also featured the granting of financial awards to five area residents dealing with various disabilities: ALS battler Denise Swallow; veterans Matthew Berrafato, Anthony Chobanov and Colton Zumach, all of whom were injured in the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Major James Pradke, whose young son lost his right arm in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
Our Humanitarian of the Year is the son of Tom McCallion and Sandra Messina. John graduated from Morton East High School and Morton Junior College, starting the McCallion Family Scholarship at the college at the age of 26. He finished his business degree at Northern Illinois University, and later served on the Advisory Board for the NIU College of Business and on the Board of Directors for the NIU Executive Club. John completed his education at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. A Financial Advisor and Managing Director for Ameriprise, John has been active in CIACO for more than 10 years, serving as an officer, board member and chair of several committees.
This year’s scholars included Ariana Aloisio, Katelyn Bayne, Victoria Cascone, Patricia and Theresa Cheever, Abbie Gorman, Kayla Green, Keegan Holmes, Nicole Jaros, Andrew Lake, Nicolette Makris, Anthony Marino, Paolo Mazza, Marissa Miller, Carlos Munoz, Maya Nudo, Adrienne Quattrochi, Renata Serpico, Christopher Spina and Nicole Szilagyi.
Entertainment was provided by Diamanti with an assist from Diva Montell. CIACO donated a record $100,000, capping a very inspiring, entertaining and successful evening.
— Article by Steve Scaramuzzo, Photos by Passions Photography