Columbus Day Parade - October 2022

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ANNUAL

COLUMBUS DAY PARADE October 9, 2022

NUTLEY BELLEVILLE P A R A DE MA GA Z I N E


2 — October 2022 — Columbus Day Parade

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40th annual Columbus Day Parade steps off The Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade committee will host the largest Italian American event in Essex County with the 40th annual Columbus Day Parade on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 1:30 p.m. The parade route starts at Belleville High School, proceeds north on Franklin Avenue and ends at Nutley High School. The Belleville Chapter of UNICO and the Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey will hold their annual Columbus Day flag raising on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 9 a.m. at Belleville Town Hall, 152 Washington Ave. The Nutley Chapter of UNICO will hold its annual Columbus Day flag raising at 11 a.m. at Nutley Town Hall, 1 Kennedy Drive. The 2022 grand marshal is Tina Cervasio, Fox 5 lead sports anchor and reporter, and host of “Sports Xtra.” In addition to Cervasio, other honorees this year are: Nutley Woman of the Year Roseann Biasi Vazquez, Nutley Man of the Year Jason P. Zinna, Belleville Woman of the Year Patri-

cia Ferrara-Wells, Belleville Man of the Year James A. Corino, Italian Heritage Award winner Michael V. Calabro, Renaissance Woman Jerri Custode, Renaissance Man Nicholas F. Cozzarelli, Italian Business Owner of the Year John Monaco of A Personal Touch Florist, Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dolores Del Deo Kirk and Community Excellence Award winner Frank Dauksis. This year’s parade will be celebrating 40 years of promoting, protecting and preserving Italian heritage, culture and traditions. The parade has more than 800 participants and more than 50 entries, including marching bands, drill teams, antique automobiles, motorcycles, floats, flags and representation from many local town organizations. There will be face painting, and a bounce house and slides for the children. The parade reviewing stand will be at Franklin Avenue at the Oval in Nutley. To participate, contact Bill Freda at 973632-4367.

Columbus Day Parade 2022 Committee Officers Parade chairperson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rosemary Costa Parade co-chairperson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bill Freda Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ben Costa Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barbara Freda Trustee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cavaliere Susan R. LaMorte

Columbus Day Parade 2022 Committee Members Rev. Thomas D. Nicastro Gerard DiPopolo Pasquale Meola Diane Stanzione Edie Peters Liguori Melissa Matturro

Jeanne Lombardi Joseph Gencarelli Anthony Santasieri Vincent Cozzarelli Vito Matturro

Parade Founders John V. Kelly

James Donadia

Photo Courtesy of Parade Committee

Several members of the Columbus Day Parade Committee gather for a photo.

All parade photos in this special section were taken by Steve Ellmore at the 2021 Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade.


4 — October 2022 — Columbus Day Parade

Cervasio ready to serve as parade’s grand marshal Tina Cervasio 2022 Grand Marshal Tina Cervasio McKearney, who goes by Tina Cervasio professionally, joined FOX 5 New York in January 2018 as the lead sports anchor and reporter serving both “Good Day New York” and the evening newscasts. Cervasio is also the host of the weekly sports show “Sports Xtra” every Sunday night at 10:30 p.m., where she conducts exclusive interviews, presents feature-length stories and highlights for the week in sports, and covers major news from both the greater New York metropolitan area and around the sports world. Cervasio had been with FOX 5 as a fillin sports anchor and reporter since 2009. She is also currently a college football sideline reporter and host at CBS Sports Network, where she broadcasts all Army West Point home football games on the sidelines of historic Michie Stadium, is a co–studio host for the Army/Navy “March

On” and “Tailgate” pregame shows, and is one of the co-hosts on the all-female panel of the groundbreaking studio show “We Need To Talk.” For Westwood One radio, Cervasio has been the sideline reporter on the nationally broadcast Army/Navy football game since 2020. The broadcast veteran is a seven-time New York Emmy Award winner as part of the New York Knicks broadcasts on MSG Network, where she worked from 2008 to 2017. During that time at MSG, Cervasio was also the pregame and halftime host of the New York Red Bulls broadcasts, as well as serving as the in-game and postgame reporter. In 2015, Cervasio became the first female lead talk radio host at SiriusXM NBA Radio. During her career, she has worked as a play-by-play announcer for the Olympic games with Westwood One, as a sideline reporter for the NFL on FOX and NBA on TNT, and as the field reporter

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for the Boston Red Sox on the New England Sports Network. As a University of Maryland graduate, Cervasio was honored in 2014 with the Distinguished Terrapin Award for Excellence in Journalism by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She is also a member of the Nutley hall of fame Class of 2011, joining Martha Stewart and the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. Cervasio also has a heart for charities. In 2008, 2009 and 2013, she ran the New York City Marathon for the Garden of Dreams Foundation. She works with EDGE, formerly Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation; has served on the fundraising committee for the Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation/David Diehl Golf Invitational; and serves as emcee for several fundraisers each year, including United Way of New York. Cervasio is an active member of Women in Sports and Events. Cervasio resides in New Jersey with her husband, Kevin McKearney.

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Biasi Vazquez honored for dedication to community Roseann Biasi Vazquez Nutley Woman of the Year Roseann Biasi Vazquez was born and raised in Newark. She has been married to her husband, David Vazquez, for 38 years. After they married, they moved to Belleville and then eventually purchased their home in Nutley. They have resided in Nutley for the past 35 years. Biasi Vazquez loves Nutley, saying, “We have the best neighbors, and the town is simply the best place to raise a family and enjoy retirement!” The couple has one son, DJ; a daughter-in-law, Stephanie; and two beautiful granddaughters, Brooke Madeline and Hannah Clare, ages 6 and 4. Biasi Vazquez has spent almost the entirety of her adult life in service to Jesus Christ and the Church. She has worked for the Archdiocese of Newark since April 1975, serving through a variety of offices, including the religious education office, RENEW International, the Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children and the development office. After serving in the archbishop’s office for more than 20 years, Biasi Vazquez was asked by Cardinal Joseph Tobin to become the senior executive assistant to the vicar for clergy, to assist in the expansion of that office’s pivotal role in the archdiocese. In addition to serving the Church in her professional life, Biasi Vazquez also ministers as an

active member of Holy Family Roman Catholic Church in Nutley as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and as a volunteer with the parish food pantry and annual festival. Biasi Vazquez also volunteers for Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry that provides healing to postabortive men and women. Last year, Biasi Vazquez received the Humanitarian Award from Saint Andrew College Seminary at Seton Hall University for her support of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. In 2015, at the annual Archbishop Vocations Dinner, she received the Juniper Serra Award. She is also a dame of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Congratulations to this year’s honorees! Happy Columbus Day!

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Zinna is recognized for his successes Jason P. Zinna Nutley Man of the Year Jason P. Zinna is a sports and entertainment executive and business owner. He started his career in 1998 with sports marketing agency Integrated Sports International, which was sold to SFX Sports Group, a powerhouse agency representing athletes in every sport. In 2007, Zinna tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit and created Inside Sports & Entertainment Group, an experiential marketing company, with three partners. Zinna was instrumental in the growth of the new company and helped spearhead its 2014 acquisition by one the world’s leading talent and entertainment agencies, Creative Artists Agency, where he became a leader of the

CAA Premium Experience Division. In 2019, Zinna and his partners decided to return to their roots as a boutique agency and created their newest endeavor, [IMPACT] Sports + Entertainment. Zinna has been an industry expert in VIP experiences, hospitality and experiential marketing throughout his career, collaborating with high-profile celebrity talent, clients and brands across the globe for more than 20 years, while developing extraordinary experiences designed to deepen relationships and strengthen connections. He has annually attended major events, such as the Super Bowl, the Masters Tournament, the Kentucky Derby, allstar games, the Grand Prix, the U.S. Open tennis championships, winter and summer Olympics, Emmys, Grammys, the CMA Awards, fashion week and more. With his affable personality, Zinna has received respect throughout the sports and entertainment industry and has grown a loyal customer base that value his friendship and business acumen. Zinna graduated in 1994 from Nutley High School, where he received all-state football and baseball honors. He attended Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. Zinna lived in Nutley for 25 years before moving to Connecticut with his wife and three children. He is proud to have called Nutley home and cherishes the friendships that were created more than 25 years ago with many of his best friends from high school. His parents, Frank and Maria Zinna,

both grew up in Belleville and are graduates of Belleville High School. They currently reside in Nutley. Frank Zinna was the municipal court judge in Belleville for nearly 30 years. When he’s not leading his team at [IMPACT], Jason Zinna can be found leading his family through silly dance videos, coaching little league sports, golfing, skiing and traveling. He is also an avid platform tennis enthusiast and player.

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Ferrara-Wells leaves her mark here in Belleville Patricia Ferrara-Wells Belleville Woman of the Year Patricia Ferrara-Wells was born in Newark and is a graduate of Barringer High School in Newark. She lived in Nutley for several years before moving to Belleville, where she has resided for more than 20 years. Ferrara-Wells retired after working 32 years at the Essex County Hospital Center in Cedar Grove, where she worked as a patient attendant. Throughout her career, she served and cared for thousands of patients struggling with mental health challenges. She is very active in the community, serving in multiple capacities on a regular basis. She is an active member of the Women’s Club of Belleville, where she serves as chairperson of the tricky tray committee, which raises thousands of dollars every year for various important causes locally and throughout the state. Ferrara-Wells has been a member of the Women’s Club for two decades and is also a trustee for the house committee, which is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the home headquarters of the Women’s Club of Belleville. Ferrara-Wells is very active in Little Zion UAME Church in Belleville. She serves an integral role with the clothing and coat drive ministry, the very ambi-

tious food pantry, and the annual Thanksgiving food drive. Ferrara-Wells loves her family, friends and community and never hesitates when there is a need. From cooking for the needy at Wesley United Methodist Church to personally collecting food and clothing and assisting neighbors when tragedy strikes, she is always ready to help. She was married to Henry Wells until his death this past April 15, and has one son and three stepsons. She has multiple grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and loves spending time with her family. In her spare time, when she can find it, she enjoys rummage sales and thrifting.

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Corino distinguishes himself in education and town James A. Corino Belleville Man of the Year James A. “Jim” Corino’s professional life encompasses 40 years as a public school educator and 13 years as a Seton Hall University administrator. Corino is the eldest of three sons born to James and Jennie Corino of Belleville. Corino’s father and his uncles and aunts were the children of Carmine and Maria Corino, who resided at St. Mary’s Place for more than 70 years. Carmine Corino was highly respected in Nutley and Belleville for his contributions to the Italian American community and the community at large. The Corinos were founding members of the Italian Fiorente Club in the early 1960s and were devoted parishioners of both Holy Family and St. Mary’s churches.

To cite a few of Corino’s accomplishments, he has been inducted into the Belleville High School hall of fame and the Lyndhurst High School hall of fame. He has also been nominated for induction into the Trenton State College Football hall of fame. As a coach at Lyndhurst High School, his teams earned three Group 2 state championships and three Bergen County Scholastic League championships. These led to multiple Coach of the Year honors. Corino was selected as the coach of the North Jersey all-state team for two North/South Jersey all-star basketball postseason games. He was a member of the eligibility committee, 1992-95, and the executive board, 1995-97, of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Since 2007, he has also sat as a

member of the executive board of the New Jersey Superintendents School Study Council. In 1978, Corino was the founder and president of the Lyndhurst High School hall of fame and spoke at state conferences and before numerous school boards across the state to promote incorporation of both athletic and academic high school halls of fame. At present, there are approximately 400 school district halls of fame throughout New Jersey. Corino has distinguished himself as an education leader. His acumen was manifest in a host of responsibilities: high school teacher, coach, assistant principal, director of athletics, school principal, assistant superintendent, superintendent and, most recently, administrator at Seton Hall University. Since 2007, Corino has served as a professor and the executive director of the master of arts and education specialist advanced degree programs in education leadership, management and policy. He teaches education leadership courses at the master’s, education specialist and doctoral levels; Corino himself has a doctoral degree in education. Corino has authored articles in national and state publications, and has received numerous awards of recognition. He has presented at professional development seminars, most notably at Princeton University, and at other education conferences in the state. Along with two professors, Corino has conducted video conference

lectures and classes about the culture of education leadership in the United States with a cohort of doctoral students and university professors at the University of Catania, Sicily. One of his most memorable distinctions was a citation for facilitating a Holocaust symposium; the citation was awarded in 1997 by the U.S. Senate. It was sponsored by Sen. Robert G. Torricelli of New Jersey, who said, “This program is the first of its kind in the country.” Corino has dedicated his 53-year career to serving the best interest of students. He is grateful for the opportunities bestowed upon him to give back to students, athletes and aspiring leaders. For these blessings, his heartfelt thanks go out to his family, friends, colleagues and students.

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Calabro wins Italian Heritage Award Michael V. Calabro 2022 Italian Heritage Award Michael V. Calabro was born and raised in Essex County and has devoted his entire career to criminal justice. As an undergraduate, he attended Rutgers University–Newark, where he majored in criminology, before attending the police academy. Calabro first served on the Essex County police force from 1980 to 1982 and then became a detective with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. While working as a detective, Calabro attended law school in the evenings at Touro College School of Law. He also attended Seton Hall University Law School. In 1986, Calabro was sworn in as an assistant prosecutor in Essex County, where he spent the next 10 years. In 1993, he became director of the Narcotics

Enforcement Operation Special Investigations Unit. In 1996, Calabro entered into private practice as a partner in a law firm in Montclair. In 2002, he opened his own practice in Newark, concentrating in criminal defense. From 2001 to 2003 he served as municipal public defender in East Hanover Township. He became the chief municipal prosecutor in East Hanover in 2008, a position he continues to hold. He serves as counsel to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1158, representing Essex County employees. Calabro is a certified criminal trial attorney and a certified police instructor. He is currently president of Columbian Foundation in Newark and a member of the East Hanover Township Office of Emergency Management.

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Custode impresses as she pursues her passions Jerri Custode Renaissance Woman of the Year Jerri Custode is the executive chef at Ralph’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in Nutley. She has been working in the family business alongside her parents since she was 11 years old; Custode considers Ralph’s her first home. At age 11 she started answering the phones. At age 16, Custode became a waitress for the dining room, party room and off-premise catering. At age 17, she started in the kitchen; it was then that she decided she wanted to go to culinary school. Custode started in upstate New York at the Culinary Institute of America, but she shortly transferred to Hudson County’s culinary institute in Jersey City. She has degrees in culinary, and baking and pastry. The main reason Custode transferred was because she missed her family. Strong Italian roots made her miss her parents, her nonni and Ralph’s. Custode was glad to be back. Throughout her time at Ralph’s, she worked alongside her father, Pasquale Custode, helping those in need. What better way to help people in need than with food? Many people gain comfort from food, and it makes Custode happy to know she can do that for them. Custode has brought many new and innovative ideas to Ralph’s, such as a gluten-free menu, Italian fusion weekly

specials, and using eco-friendly and biodegradable containers. In Nutley, Ralph’s was the first to offer paper straws, eliminating a lot of plastic waste. Custode takes care of many other business-related duties as well. She enjoys writing and hopes one day to publish a cookbook. She cares very much for animals and the environment and volunteers at local animal shelters when she can, in addition to donating money or items such as blankets, food and toys to the shelters. She loves to organize beach cleanups during the summer to help keep the coast beautiful and free of litter. Custode thanks her Italian family for her drive, passion and compassion, and she wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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SPA Photo Courtesy of Parade Committee

THIS YEAR’S DIGNITARIES — In anticipation of the Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade on Sunday, Oct. 9, the parade committee honors this year’s dignitaries. They are, from left, Nutley Woman of the Year Roseann Biasi Vazquez, Belleville Man of the Year James A. Corino, Belleville Woman of the Year Patricia Ferrara-Wells, Italian Heritage Award winner Michael V. Calabro, Grand Marshal Tina Cervasio, Community Excellence Award winner Frank Dauksis, Renaissance Woman Jerri Custode, Renaissance Man Nicholas F. Cozzarelli, Italian Business Leader of the Year John Monaco and Nutley Man of the Year Jason P. Zinna. Not pictured is Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dolores Del Deo Kirk.

Congratulations to This Year’s Honorees!

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18 — October 2022 — Columbus Day Parade

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Columbus Day Parade — October 2022 — 19

Cozzarelli is committed to Italian heritage, family Nicholas Francis Cozzarelli Renaissance Man of the Year Nicholas Francis Cozzarelli is a 25year-old, third-generation Italian American and lifetime Nutley native. He is the son of Dr. John and Margaret Cozzarelli, and brother to John Paul and Marc. Both sides of Cozzarelli’s family come from the province of Salerno in Campania; his Cozzarelli side from Castelnuovo di Conza and his Mastrolia side from Palomonte. He has devoted his life to connecting deeper to his Italian roots and being grateful for the sacrifices his relatives made to allow him to be where he is now. Cozzarelli is currently an adult reconstruction research fellow at the Philadelphia headquarters of the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, a world leader in orthopedic surgery. He performs clinical research relating to the hip and knee joints. He is completing this fellowship in between his third and fourth year at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine in Nutley. In medical school, he serves as co-president of the Student Government Association, an emeritus School of Medicine chairperson on the Interprofessional Health Sciences Student Council, a member of the admissions committee, a peer mentor and a student ambassador, among other leadership roles. In early 2021, he served as the student leader of the Meadowlands COVID-19

vaccine megasite, where he worked with Hackensack Meridian Health officials, N.J. Department of Health officials, FEMA and National Guard members to help coordinate the efforts. In his time there, he vaccinated hundreds of people, trained more than 60 other students and created the student-scheduling system to sustain the volunteering efforts. Also, he co-founded both the Catholic Medical Association Guild and the Sustainability Committee at his school. Before entering medical school, he graduated magna cum laude in May 2019 from Seton Hall University, where he majored in biological sciences and minored in Catholic and Italian studies. In May 2017, he was honored as the La Motta Chair Italian Studies Scholar of the Alberto Institute, the highest honor of Italian studies at SHU. As an undergraduate, he served as the president of the Italian Student Union, a group that explored Italian culture through cuisine, customs and talks to break stereotypes and highlight Italian excellence. The ISU even raised the Italian flag for the first time at SHU during Italian American Heritage Month in 2015. Additionally, he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the premedical honor society, for which he served as treasurer. Lastly, he was a supplemental instructor for general biology with the Academic Resource Center. Cozzarelli has had a lifetime commit-

ment to Italian studies, formally studying the language from third grade through college. While a student at St. Peter’s Prep, he was heavily involved with the Italian Club and he helped the school win three state trophies at the Coccia Institute’s Italian Language and Culture Day competition, from 2013-2015. He performed in themed skits in Italian against other high schools throughout the state. Moreover, he was the 2015 recipient of the Nutley UNICO Alfred A. & Anna Biondi Science Scholarship. He was inducted into

both the National Italian Honor Society and the National Honor Society. During high school, he also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with Troop 22 of Bloomfield, after completing his Eagle Project at the Kingsland Manor in Nutley. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys being with his family, making wine with his father and family, making capocollo and other Italians foods with his mother, and continuing his heritage research. He is working on a book he started with his Grandpa Cozzarelli called “Hey Cozz!” It details their family history back to the Renaissance. Cozzarelli even authored an article on his family’s winemaking history for WineMaker Magazine. Furthermore, he enjoys researching Nutley history, volunteering at the Debbie Pecora Center for Special Young Adults, writing poems, drumming, making stained glass artwork, riding his Vespa, and traveling to Italy whenever he can. He has visited Italy 12 times, and through these travels he has enhanced his linguistic skills and cultural knowledge. Every October, he writes daily posts on his social media accounts to promote Italian American Heritage Month, by sharing pictures and detailed stories of his family’s experience in Italy and coming to America to achieve their dreams. He strongly encourages other Italians to promote their family history as well. Cozzarelli has plans to write books on Italian American culture.

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20 — October 2022 — Columbus Day Parade

Monaco, his business are local fixtures John Monaco Italian Business Leader For more than 35 years, John Monaco has been proud to be a part of Nutley. As the owner of A Personal Touch Florist, he has been serving families and businesses in town since 1986 to help them celebrate, thank, mourn and show appreciation with flower arrangements. Monaco has supported multiple Nutley schools and parent teacher organizations; cancer fundraising groups, such as Nutley’s Thriving Survivors and Relay for Life; local military groups, The Phoenix Center and other township organizations. He has received numerous awards from AMVETS, VFW, Hoffmann–La Roche and The Phoenix Center. At The Phoenix Center prior to COVID-19, Monaco would mentor special needs children twice a year on how to make a floral arrangement. “Their smiles are priceless,” he said. He is a proud resident of Lyndhurst but spent a great deal of time in Nutley, where his paternal grandparents, aunts and uncles lived. Because of his family’s ties, Monaco feels a strong bond to the town of Nutley, which made it an easy decision to base his business here. At a young age, Monaco enjoyed working with his hands to fix things and enjoyed making people smile. These ethics were instilled in him by his father and grandfather. Monaco was the youngest volunteer at Clara Maass Hospital to accomplish more

than 500 volunteer hours in one year at the age of 16. He was also a volunteer EMT for more than eight years with the Lyndhurst Police Emergency Squad and the Clara Maass medical intensive care unit, and felt much fulfillment in helping patients with their medical needs. He attended college for engineering while working as a driver in a floral shop. This is where he found his calling as a floral designer and realized that building custom designs fulfilled his needs to create, and console people in times of grief and celebrate happy occasions. He enjoyed watching his customer families grow over the years and being part of all their occasions. Monaco has been happily married to

his wife, Diane, for 33 years and is a proud father to his son, Christopher, and his daughter, Julianne. In 2017, Monaco was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Nutley Jaycees for Businessman of the Year. In 2018, he was recognized by the Parks and Recreation Department for his support for Relay for Life over the years. In 2018, he joined the Nutley Rotary Club; over the past years he worked hard to assist in many projects. In 2019, he started the Nutley Rotary Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, which has grown to be a wonderful event for the township, raising funds for scholarships and township organizations. In 2020, Monaco was honored with the Rotarian Paul Harris Fellowship Award. He is proud of the volunteer work he has done with the club since becoming a member. He assisted with food drives for pets and seniors, and poinsettia donations for seniors. He chaired the VFW flagpole restoration and lawn cleanup project. He was honored to be nominated as the club’s vice president and will become president in 2023. Over the years, the floral industry has changed, but Monaco keeps up with floral styles, delivery challenges, and updated technology to advertise and order online. His motto when he opened the store was: “We are family owned and run, and we treat your family as our own.” This remains true 35 years later.

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Columbus Day Parade — October 2022 — 21

Kirk: A paragon of civic engagement Dolores Del Deo Kirk Lifetime Achievement Award Dolores Del Deo “Dee” Kirk has been a resident of Essex County all her life. Born and raised in Newark, she was a longtime resident of Livingston and presently resides in Roseland. Kirk is a graduate of Central High School in Newark and attended Arts High School, Rutgers University–Newark and Seton Hall University. She began her professional career at Prudential in Newark, working with the underwriting division. Her career in politics began when she was hired by the New Jersey Republican Party’s finance committee; she worked in both the fundraising arm of the GOP and the state committee. She became administrative assistant to state Sen. John H. Ewing and also served as assistant journal clerk for the state Senate. Kirk was appointed and elected as the first Italian American secretary of the Senate in the history of the state of New Jersey and was the longest serving secretary. Currently, she is protocol consultant for the state Senate. During her political career, she has worked on gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and congressional campaigns. She also worked with the White House advance teams for the FBI for visiting national candidates. Kirk served as chairperson of the GOP county committee and the Livingston Republican municipal committee. She has also served as secretary to the New Jersey

Republican delegation at three national presidential conventions and as coordinator for several inaugural galas. Kirk serves as a member of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and previously served on the National Legislative Arts and Cultural Committee. She encourages young people to get involved in the arts community in order that they have a better understanding of the many cultures and diversities in our state. Kirk is a parishioner of St. Lucy’s Church in Newark and one of the founders of the Museum of the Old First Ward located in the church. She initiated Friends of St. Lucy’s during a difficult transition in the church and is a member

of St. Lucy’s steering committee. She has served as an advisory member of Integrity House’s drug and alcohol abuse program Newark. She is actively involved in protecting, preserving and promoting Italian heritage and traditions, including preserving the celebration of Columbus Day and the Columbus statue that was removed from Washington Park in Newark — she secured a safe place for the statue on the grounds of St. Lucy’s Church. She also served as advisory member for the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission and was a member of Business and Professional Women New Jersey. Currently, she is a member of the Roseland VFW Auxiliary, the Roseland Republican County Committee, National Legislative Secretaries and Clerks, the Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey, and a member of the board of governors for the Thomas Giblin Association. She is also a member of the Newark St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee. Her business venture, Special Events Management, has managed both private and political events. She has been honored with many awards relating to the arts, community and civic service throughout her career. She was married to Charles F. Kirk Jr., now deceased, and has three children, Deborah, Charles III and Kevin, and five grandchildren, Andrew, Charles IV, Christopher, Kathryn and Joseph.

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22 — October 2022 — Columbus Day Parade

Dauksis has his eye on giving back to community Frank Dauksis Community Excellence Award Francis Anthony “Frank” Dauksis was born Nov. 3, 1984, the only child of Pam (Brown) Dauksis and the late Michael “Big Mike” Dauksis. He has a stepsister, Kimberly, and a stepbrother, Mike Jr., from his dad’s previous marriage. A Belleville native, Dauksis attended Holy Family Elementary School. He graduated from Seton Hall Prep in 2002, then attended Seton Hall University. In 2002, upon his father’s death, Dauksis also began his career in restaurant and bar management at Michael’s Roscommon House in Belleville, a position he trained for from the time he was a small boy, busing tables, washing dishes and mopping floors. In 2012, upon his mother’s retirement, he assumed ownership of the family business, expanding and energizing Michael’s Roscommon House to the industry leading business it is today.

A lifelong Yankees fan, Dauksis has always been passionate about baseball. He also enjoys golf, a game he learned during a high school stint caddying at Forest Hill Field Club. The Jersey Shore is a favorite as well. In May 2014, he married the love of his life, Sheila Bautista, on the beach in Malibu, Calif. The following May their son, Leonardo Michael, was born, followed by their daughter Riley Michele in November 2018. They were thrilled to welcome their third child, a baby girl named Sydney, in June 2022. A devoted husband and father, Dauksis has always placed family first and enjoys being surrounded by his many cousins, nieces and nephews. Dauksis learned community service at a young age. Scouting and sports were important influences when he was a boy. He participated in Challenger, a baseball program that paired able-bodied children with disabled youths. He has always supported the Special Olympics, a cause dear

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to him and his stepbrother, a Special Olympics participant. Dauksis was a frequent swimmer at Polar Plunge events. Supporting our community schools,

police department, fire department and youth activities, Dauksis gives generously throughout the year, donating time and money to all who ask. He heads the Michael’s Roscommon House Foundation, which has grown into three areas under his leadership: a scholarship golf outing established in memory of his late father and the late Pat Dunn; a breast cancer awareness 5K in honor of his beloved wife, Sheila, a breast cancer survivor; and an autism acceptance 5K to highlight the challenges and joys of rearing two beautiful children with autism. An active member of the Nutley Irish American Alliance, Dauksis was honored as the 2017 grand marshal of the Nutley St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He is also active in the Seton Hall Alumni Association. However, his favorite activity is being home with his family. Even with the long hours in the restaurant business, he is a hands-on dad and a caring husband.

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Columbus Day Parade — October 2022 — 23

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Tina Cervasio – Grand Marshal Lifetime Achievement – Delores Del Deo Kirk Italian Heritage Award – Michael V. Calabro, Esq. Italian Business Leader Award – John Monaco Nutley Italian Man of the Year – Jason P. Zinna Nutley Italian Woman of the Year – Roseann Biasi Vazquez Belleville Italian Man of the Year – James A. Corino, Ed.D. Belleville Italian Woman of the Year – Patricia Ferrara Wells Renaissance Woman – Jerri Custode Renaissance Man – Nicholas F. Cozzarelli Community Excellence Award – Frank Dauksis

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24 — October 2022 — Columbus Day Parade