Verrazano Rotary Club celebrates 46 years of service

From Brooklyn Eagle

The Rotary Club of Verrazano-Brooklyn held its 46th annual gala last Friday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn in Staten Island, filling the room to maximum capacity and honoring those that put “Service Above Self.”

The event took place at the hotel’s Above Ballroom, showcasing 20-foot high floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular panoramic views of the New York City skyline.

Among the honorees were Dominick Ciccarelli, who was given the “Man of the Year” award.

Ciccarelli, a New York City-based entrepreneur with a strategic portfolio of business experience in the construction, architectural and real estate industries, told the Brooklyn Eagle that he is “completely honored” by the acknowledgment.

Enrico Ferrara, Carl Campagna, honoree Bart Allegretti, honoree Sergio Allegretti, John Blandi and Peter Ungaro.

“The Rotary Club does spectacular things for the community — from heart transplants for children, to helping the elderly and disabled people,” Ciccarelli said. “I couldn’t be more humbled to be here tonight In 2013, after Hurricane Sandy, Ciccarelli co-founded the Construct Relief Foundation, which was dedicated to helping local Staten Islanders rebuild or modify their homes.

Other recipients included Sergio Allegretti and Bart Allegretti, who were both given “Lifetime of Community Service” awards.

Sergio is a member of Ben-Bay Kiwanis and the American Legion Kings County Youth Recreational Facilities, Inc. — an organization that supports many youth organizations.

Bart is also an active volunteer in the community who has helped raise funds for the St. Jude’s Foundation, HeartShare Human Services, Shriners Hospital for Children and others. He has also recently been nominated for president of the Bensonhurst/Bay Ridge Kiwanis Club for 2024-2025.

Chris Sullivan, Laura Caruana, Kathi Sullivan and Bruno Frustaci. The three at left are holding their Paul Harris Fellowship awards.

Vito Parente, current president of the Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi Club in Brooklyn and a board member of the Federation of Italian American Organization of Brooklyn, took home the “Humanitarian Award.”

Several “Paul Harris Fellowships” were also awarded. Chris and Kathi Sullivan; Darcie Rowan; Laura Caru- ana; and Ben Truncali (ex-officio assistant governor and past president, 2022-2023) received the accolades. Truncali said he hoped hope to raise around $60,000 at the evening’s gala — a significant increase compared to last year, which did about $35,000 to $40,000.

“Tonight we are accommodating a lot more people — over 300. And we really have some great honorees this year who brought out a lot of folks.”

Giving back

Truncali noted that the Rotary philosophy is really about “humankind helping humankind.”

“We’ve been very successful in what it is that we do,” he said, “to the point where we want to give back. And my feeling is if you’ve gotten to a certain point, and you can give back, you should absolutely do it.”

Also in attendance at the gala was the Verrazano Rotary’s first charter member (1978), Al Marciano, who took some time to speak with the Eagle.

“What I like most about this group is definitely the camaraderie,” Marciano, 76, said. “These are my brothers; this is my family. Since the time that I became a member, things really haven’t changed much.
We have the same mission, and we have stayed strong.”

However, treasurer Dr. Joseph Caruana, who has been a member for more than 40 years, said that while the mis- sion and motto remains the same, the organization has definitely grown a lot compared to decades ago.

“In the very beginning, if we made $1,000 for a year it was successful,” Caruana said. “But now we’ve multiplied that by more than 10 fold. There is not a need that comes to us that we don’t try to help.”

A retrospective

The Rotary Club of Verrazano was chartered in 1978, and is one of more than 30,000 Rotary clubs in
160 countries worldwide. It is composed of 35 professionals engaging in all areas of business. Rotary club members worldwide are volunteers who work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, and promote peace under the motto “Service above self.”

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