The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, part of the national Order Sons of Italy in America, recently honored several leaders in the Italian-American community, as well as graduating high school seniors at the Massachusetts Education and Law Awards.
Held on Sunday, May 4, 2014, the award ceremony is a continuation of a 30-year tradition of the Grand Lodge’s commitment to social justice, previously known as the Law and Justice Awards, which has honored leaders like Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Similarly, the scholarship program has annually awarded at least $30,000 to high school seniors for nearly 60 years.
This year, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts awarded scholarships to 29 deserving students, who are continuing their education in subjects like engineering, biology, medicine, education, and the arts. Each of these students is at the top of their classes, and is immersed in extracurricular activities and volunteer work.
The event also honored six outstanding public servants. The Honorable Peter C. DiGangi, of the Lawrence Probate Court, received the Justice Award, Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco Jr. received the Law Award, and former Wilmington Town Manager Michael A. Caira received the Public Service Award.
Additionally, Special Recognition Awards were bestowed upon Watertown Police Sergeant Jeffrey J. Pugliese and Patrolman Timothy Menton, and Watertown Firefighters Patrick Menton and James Caruso, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts during the apprehension of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown on April 2013. Sergeant Pugliese risked his life to engage directly with the suspects, and Timothy Menton, Patrick Menton, and James Caruso are credited with helping to save the life of MTBA Officer Richard Donahue.
“Our hope is to connect these exemplary and accomplished professionals at the height of their careers to the promising students that are just beginning their journey into adulthood,” noted the State President of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Carmelita Bello.
This year’s awards ceremony was particularly special for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, as it is celebrating its 100th year as part of the Order Sons of Italy in America.
The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is one of the many state chapters of the national Order Sons of Italy in America, which is the oldest, largest, and most geographically represented organization of Italian-Americans in the country. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was chartered in 1914 and encompasses Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
The purpose of the organization is to promote and preserve Italian heritage, raise funds for charitable endeavors, engage in local community efforts and events, and participate in social justice efforts, such as combating discrimination in the Italian-American community.
For more information, visit www.osiama.org.