The Massachusetts State House welcomed a very special guest on March 17. Receiving an official citation signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, Giovanni Russo was recognized for his 74 years of exemplary labor. His entire family was present at the ceremony inside the State Chamber, including his wife of 60 years, Lucia; his daughters Connie, Julie and Veronica; his grandchildren; and Francesca DiBenedetto, who pushed to have the recognition bestowed upon Russo.
Born in Augusta, Sicily, in 1926, Russo began working as an apprentice in a machine shop at the age of 14. Before coming to the United States in 1956, Russo served in the Italian military for two years and then worked for a period in Venezuela. Russo finally opened his own business in Massachusetts in 1967, when he and Giuseppe Spinale founded the Prattville Machine company in Chelsea. The company today employs over 100 people, including Russo himself, who still goes to work five days a week.
Proving his devotion to his Sicilian hometown over the years, Russo has served as president of the Augusta Club and hosted a group of students from Sicily in 1990, giving them an opportunity to experience the work done at his company. In 2002, Russo was named honorary professor at the Technical School of Augusta.