Message From the President

As I write this article my heart is heavy. With the loss of Past State President David Prisco my heart goes out to his family. David was the State President in 2003 at my first convention. He will be missed, a soft spoken, gentle giant. Also we send our condolences to William Paca Lodge President Rosalia Margarit on the loss of her husband Albano Margarit, another member who was always smiling. Rest in peace my Brothers. 

We also need to keep our thoughts and prayers with all of those affected by the wild fires in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Rosa and Anaheim. I spent a Saturday morning after the fires started calling and talking to all the filial lodge presidents in those areas to check on our members. I have heard so far of a couple of members in Ukiah, one in Santa Rosa and one in Lake County have lost their homes, besides a number of others who have been displaced. I am working on a way we can help these members through the Western Foundation. I have contacted Brother Roy CAO of the Western Foundation to find a way we can help our brothers and sisters. Wow, from hurricanes in Houston and Florida to fires in Nebraska and to fires in California. Mother Nature sure must be upset with us. I say to her we are sorry, now enough is enough.

Now onto some more pleasant items, (this is why I do not like to watch the news). Grand Council was held on September 22 and 23rd. I would like to thank all of the Grand Council officers and the members for their complete cooperation during the meetings. We were able to get all business completed and then on Saturday night had a wonderful celebration in honor of Cav. Maria Fassio Pignati, Past State President. It was nice to see Phil from Massachusetts come out to the event for Maria also. It was a great evening enjoyed by all.

It was mentioned to me why we do not give a report from National Convention like your delegates do for our State Convention. So I asked each of the delegates present to touch on a few highlights at Grand Council, and for those that were not there I would like to touch on a few highlights. One of the biggest issues at the national level but also at our state level is membership. As of the second quarter we have a total of 34,827 members, they are projecting a loss of down to 34,000 by fiscal year 2019. We all need to help stop this. Our membership chair Gary Smith has some ideas that I hope we can implement. Other ideas are welcome. On a sad note the Grand Lodge of Arizona was dissolved, due to lack of members. I plan on reaching out to the Arizona lodges to offer that they join the Grand Lodge of California. As you have heard the name change is official. National is working on a new website that they hope to have online soon. One thing that always brightens my day at our convention and at national is the donations. The total donations given at national for the charities, museum and civic projects were $401,305.00. Kudos to all of our members nationwide.

Our Western Foundation Sons of Italy golf tournament was held on October 2nd and Michael Smith and his committee once again did an outstanding job. But the highlight of my day was before the golf tournament, I was the guest of Gary Smith at the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary where I was given a tour and was able to hold a 15 week old 29 lb Snow Leopard. What an experience. Thank you Gary and Kelly. I will try to have a picture next month. If you have not been there I highly recommend it.

October is a busy month with all the Columbus Day and Italian Heritage Day celebrations. I was able to attend Giuseppe Mazzini lodge #2011 Columbus Day picnic. Wow, the food and friendship was outstanding, thank you Gina. First Lady Donna Lee and I had the honor to represent you at the 149th annual Italian Heritage Parade, along with Queen Mary. It was a beautiful day in San Francisco warm weather and a lot of smiling faces. Thank you once again John Perretto for obtaining the cars for us, I think John said he has been doing this for 17 years. It was truly an honor to represent you. Later in the month we attended Northern Solano Lodges Columbus day Dinner, thank you Don and members of the lodge. I have received many other invitations and am trying to attend as many as I can, if I am unable to I will send a representative in my place.

As we enter October, Columbus In closing as November comes into sight let’s remember our Veterans, those that have fought to keep us safe and give us the rights we have to live in the United States of America. I always try to, when I see someone in the military or even wearing a military hat to thank him or her for their sacrifice and service. I now am very thankful for our first responders how have braved the fires California has had. 

Mille grazie