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FIAO honors and scholarships - Stellar trio singled out for special community salute

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Since its inception in 1976, the Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO) has continued its mission to better serve the cultural, educational, spiritual and environmental life of their community, as reflected with pride on the growth and indispensable services provided by the federation.

They live and work in Brooklyn by choice to make sure that the community remains beautiful, strong, and viable.

Today, with the imminent creation of the Italian American Cultural Center, FIAO will serve as a hub for economic development and provide space for exhibition of contemporary and traditional art, theatrical performances, and other culturally oriented programs, including multimedia presentations.

In addition to expanding FIAO’s ability to provide social, educational, athletic, and recreational services, the center will serve as a cultural resources for all.

Three leaders were honored this year.

The “Woman of the Year” was President and CEO Wendy Goldstein, who has established Lutheran Medical Center as one of the top ranked hospitals in the city and the nation.

Her outstanding commitment to premier health care is equally matched by her success in making Lutheran an integral part of the community.

The “Distinguis­hed Italian American” was Salvatore Girgenti, a respected leader of the community. His entrepreneurial success and his philanthropy are legendary. Within the real estate community he has been a mentor and teacher to many current and past brokers. He is also a co-owner of Joe Torre Sports Shop.

The “Community Service Award” was presented to Carlo Lauricella. He is a board member of FIAO and chairman of the Youth Soccer Program, which is made up of 250 children, ages six to 15.

Lauricella is also dedicating his time in helping to realize the construction of the Italian American Cultural Center. He is a devoted family man and a concerned citizen of the community.

The 2008 Scholarship recipients were: Antonina Agrusa, Christina Cama, Briana Deserio, Jonathan Fronterre, Giuseppe Caruso, Sabrina Gaudio, Emanuele Mazzola, Joseph Nardulli, Vincent Polizzi, Rosario Pucci, Severino Randazzo, Serafina Taormina, and Alex Teta.

The chairperson of this scholarship program is Barbara Pascarelli.

The contributors to the scholarship include Apple Bank, Lina Bennardo, Ben Bay Realty Company, Bensonhurst by Ride Kiwanis, Calabria Regional Association, Carmelo Emilio, First Nationwide of New York, Albert Ingravallo, Maimonides Medical Center, Orazio Mattioli, McGraw Hill, Enza Messina, Micahel Katz, Dr. Sudha Patel, Stephen Pellegrino, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Sclafani-Vitale, M.D., P.C., The Society of the Citizens of Pozzallo.

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