Published On: Mon, Jan 29th, 2024

Italian PBC Mayor Helps Italian Lodge Celebrate 40th

By Marci Shatzman

When Father Adam Forno offered the opening prayer at Sgt. Bonanno Lodge, Order Sons & Daughters of Italy’s 40th anniversary, he noted how long it could take for then new Italian emigrants to be recognized.

Fast forward, and the speaker and longtime lodge advocate is the daughter of a U.S. Army Infantry soldier and an Italian war bride, Palm Beach County Mayor Maria Sachs.

Sharing her family history, her parents met in “a little store in Naples,” when her father was in the service, Sachs said. Her mom had to wait to come to the U.S. to join him. And when she finally took a ship to New York and passed the Statue of Liberty, she thought she was home.

“Little did she know my Dad was from Detroit!” Sachs, told members and guests at the celebration in the Delray Elks Lodge.

“Maria’s a great friend of the Italian community,” lodge president Edmondo Catania told members and guests.

Her association and efforts for Italian-Americans go back two decades. She was responsible for having October proclaimed Italian Heritage Month in Florida in 2014 as a state senator. As a county commissioner she continues to support the Italian Studies program at FAU, and having Italian taught in public schools. Her latest effort is promoting a dual passport for Italian-Americans.

“I want to keep our Italian traditions alive. It’s not just the language, it’s the people,” Sachs said, presenting a Palm Beach County proclamation to Catania.

The Sgt. Frederick M. Bonanno lodge started small and now they’re up to 105 members and growing, Catania noted.

Also at the festivities were Grand Lodge of Florida President Joe Dente: first vice president Nick Cantore; Tony Phillips, president of the Italo-American Cultural Society based in Pompano; and Boca Raton Italian educator and film documentarian Eufrasio Volpe.

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