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The Order Sons of Italy in America (OSDIA), the oldest and largest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage, elected Daniel J. Longo of Maryland to serve a two-year term as National President during its 54th Biennial National Convention in Bonita Springs, Florida, Aug. 16-23, 2015. He is the former National Director of Client Services for Prime Care Technologies. Mr. Longo has stated that his vision for the next two years “will focus on the possibilities. Previous initiatives that complimented our organization’s direction will be revisited. New initiatives will be vetted and implemented to ensure our future successes.”
Vera Girolami of California, National First Vice President
Nancy Di Fiore Quinn of New York, National Second Vice President
Robert A. Bianchi, Esq. of New Jersey, National Third Vice President
Joseph A. Boncore, Esq. of Massachusetts, National Fourth Vice President
Michael G. Polo of Connecticut, National Fifth Vice President
Thomas Lupo of New York, National Financial Secretary
Frank J. Panessa of Maryland, National Treasurer
Dr. Mark S. DeNunzio of Florida, National Recording Secretary
Christopher Cannatella of New Jersey, National Orator
Richard R. Della Croce, Esq. of Illinois/Wisconsin, National Historian
Rev. R. Adam Forno of New York, National Chaplain
National Past President Robert A. Messa was also approved unanimously as National President Emeritus. In another historic moment, for the first time three OSDIA past national officers – Commission for Social Justice Past President Angelo Bianchi, National Past President Philip R. Boncore and National Past President Paul S. Polo, Sr. – bestowed the official regalia on their sons as they each assumed the position of national vice president.
Joseph J. DiTrapani of New York was elected to lead the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), OSIA’s philanthropic branch, for a second term. Established in 1959, the SIF has raised more than $163 million for educational scholarships, medical research, disaster relief, veterans’ causes, cultural preservation and other special projects.
Kevin A. Caira of Massachusetts was elected to serve as president of the Commission for Social Justice (CSJ), OSIA’s anti-defamation branch. The CSJ fights the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the U.S. entertainment, advertising, and media industries.
About 200 OSDIA national officers and trustees, state presidents, national delegates, and their guests were present to review OSIA’s last two years of activities, elect the new national leaders and set the organization’s cultural, philanthropic and administrative agendas for 2015-2017.
During the convention, leaders and delegates announced they raised more than $300,000 for OSIA’s national charities: the Alzheimer’s Association, the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation and the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. The money was raised by members and their lodges over the past two years. Contributions were also made to the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, which is owned and operated by the SIF, and a number of pledges were committed for national scholarships to be awarded at a future National Education & Leadership Awards Gala.
Additional fundraising opportunities were discussed during the convention including the 2015 National Raffle and a new affinity credit card program, the Sons of Italy Visa® Rewards credit card. The card offers Sons of Italy members and supporters a flexible rewards program with thousands of rewards options and additional cardholder benefits, while also earning money for OSIA.
In addition to recognizing the incoming and celebrating the outgoing national officers, three remarkable Italian Americans were honored at the convention for their professional and personal contributions. Joe Andruzzi, former NFL offensive guard and founder of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, received the OSDIA Sports Award. The three-time Super Bowl champion received numerous accolades and honors during his 10-season career including the Ed Block of Courage Award and the New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award. Mr. Andruzzi’s actions off the field have been just as impressive including his involvement with countless philanthropic events and organizations. While accepting the award, Mr. Andruzzi suggested the audience “live for the moment. Enjoy your moment. Enjoy today, what’s in front of you and be the best at what you can do. Pay it forward as much as you can and strive to be your best.” During the Convention $3,750 was raised by convention attendees and will be donated to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which provides support for cancer patients and funding for cancer research.
Edith Zuzolo of New York was honored with the Sellaro Award for her many years of service to OSDIA in leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. The award is named for Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro, who founded OSDIA in 1905. During Mrs. Zuzolo’s heartfelt speech, she stated: “I cannot but help to remember the words that Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro delivered in his inaugural speech over 110 years ago. We should all be very proud that each of us, as loyal members of our beloved Order, have made his dream become true and are fully accepted” in the fabric of America.
OSDIA National Past President Joseph Sciame of New York was presented the Guglielmo Marconi Award. Mr. Sciame was honored for his dedication as a Sons of Italy leader and member since 1968, as well as his devotion to his Italian heritage and the Italian American community. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Sciame recalled his roots and gave thanks to the many people who assisted him in his journey including his “two sets of grandparents who came from little communes/towns in La Sicilia, and they came with their small prized collections, but more importantly a pride in Italy, but always and foremost pride in America.” Referencing his parents Giuseppe and Crocifissa, Mr. Sciame said, “Well, who could have had such hard working Americanized parents who gave up their born language of a Sicilian dialect to be fully immersed in America.” The Marconi Award, named for the Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi who invented wireless telegraphy, is OSIA’s highest honor.
To see the full list of OSDIA, SIF and CSJ officers, see osia.org/about/national-officers.
For biographies or photos of Daniel Longo, Joseph DiTrapani, Kevin Caira, Joe Andruzzi, Edith Zuzolo or Joseph Sciame, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the new Sons of Italy Visa® rewards credit card, visit www.commercebank.com/sonsofitaly.
Established in 1905, the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) has hundreds of thousands of family members located in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To learn more, visit www.osia.org
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