Santino Hosts Town’s First Italian Heritage Celebration; Honors Seven Residents Making a Difference in Their Communities

Supervisor Anthony J. Santino today hosted the Town of Hempstead’s first Italian Heritage Celebration, recognizing outstanding men and women who have dedicated their lives to promoting the great Italian traditions and culture that have helped make our township such a great place in which to live, work and raise a family.

“The Town of Hempstead has among the highest populations of Italian-Americans in the United States,” stated Santino. “From literature, sports, religion, education and medicine to the arts, government, cuisine, business and more, Italian-Americans have been at the forefront of creating and maintaining our national identity. I am proud to honor several men and women this evening who embody the spirit and dedication of Italian heritage here in America’s largest township.”

This year’s honorees were: Michael Gagliardi, Ex-Chief of the Island Park Fire Department and community volunteer; Rosario and Salvatore Fuschetto, owners of King Umberto Ristorante in Elmont; Dr. Salvatore LaGumina, Director of Italian American Studies at Nassau Community College; Anthony Ponte, President of Atlantic Beach Estates; Carmine Soldano, Past President of the Columbia Police Association and community volunteer; and Tom Valenti, owner of Piccolo’s Ristorante in Bellmore.

“I am proud of my Italian heritage and our township’s officials are excited to be celebrating the many accomplishments of those who trace their heritage to Italy,” said Santino. “The story of Italian immigrants is the story of the United States, a nation built upon the successes of people who have come to our nation, settled and worked to build a beautiful and strong United States of America.”

Inspiring Italian-American themed keynote speeches were offered by Dr. LaGumina, an author of books on the Italian American experience, and Michael Bonacasa, President of Italian-Americans in Government.

The Durazzano Society of Westbury provided musical entertainment for the program.

“I would like to thank all of our honorees, keynote speakers and the Durazzano Society of Westbury for demonstrating what it means to be an Italian-American in the Town of Hempstead,” concluded Santino.