Ethnic Heritage Museum this month is honoring five “Fathers of the Year” for 2012. These fathers represent service to their community and exemplary representation of their fine heritage. A different father is highlighted from 2 to 4 p.m., each Sunday in June at the museum, 1129 S. Main St., Rockford.
Paul R. McCann — Irish Gallery
The first father honored was Paul R. McCann in the Irish Gallery Sunday, June 3. Originally from Alliance, Ohio, he married his wife Paula in 1997 in Cincinnati. They have two daughters, Paige, 13, and Payton, 11.
A local businessman, he and his wife have been owners of Stanley Steemer for the past 14 years. He serves on the Board of Directors of Rockford Chamber of Commerce. He actively supports Rockford Rescue Mission, Illinois Growth Enterprises and Gigi’s Playhouse, among other organizations. McCann’s exhibit, like the others as their dates come up, will be on display until mid-August.
Louie and Paul Maffioli — Italian Gallery
Louie and Paul Maffioli will be featured in the Italian Gallery Sunday, June 10. Together, the brothers own Wilson Electric Company. Among their employees are Louie’s son Nikolas and Paul’s son Michael, and a nephew, Ryan Hand, son of Bruce and Nancy Maffioli Hand. Both of the Maffiolis honored also have an older son: Chris, Louie’s oldest son, works for BMO Harris Bank, and Mark, Paul’s youngest son, is a Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputy.
Not only are the Maffiolis the fourth generation to live in the Rockford area, but their great-great grandfather Luigi was a member of the first Italian family to arrive in Rockford. Luigi came to Rockford from Bolladello, Italy, in 1876 with his brothers.
He and his brothers were stone masons and built many structures in Rockford, including the original post office at South Main and Green streets. They both have served as chairman of Festa Italiana and are active in the Italian community.
Antonio Ramirez Jr. — Hispanic Gallery
Antonio Ramirez Jr. will be featured in the Hispanic Gallery June 17. Ramirez, born in 1980 in Galena, is a graduate of East High School. He received his associate’s degree in human services from Rock Valley College. He has been a member of YouthBuild USA’s National Advisory Council for 10 years. He is employed at the YMCA as director of Teen Programs and Community Outreach Branch director. Other connections: he is president of the RPS 205 Bilingual Parent Advisory Council, La Voz Latina board member, Parent & Community Council, Rock Valley College A.L.A.S., S.A.L.S.A. Business Network and others. He has been nominated for Community Leader of the Year as well as Top 40 Leaders Under Forty in 2008. He and his wife, Araceli, have three children, two sons and a daughter.
Yahcolyah Muhammad — African-American Gallery
Yahcolyah Muhammad will be featured in the African-American Gallery June 24. Muhammad is the founder of Shoresh Learning and Consulting, LLC. He is also the director of the Rockford SIMBA/SIMSA Chapter and director of Mathematics and Instruction at Muhammad University of Islam in Rockford. His programming and lectures range from Hip Hop Mathematics, Saving Our Boys to Learning How to Learn, among others. He believes in the importance of education, developing pride, confidence and leadership skills with youth and young adults. He works with schools, community organizations, churches and mosques, assisting them in implementing programs and relevant curricula to better assist youth and young adults in the areas of academic achievement, personal development and life skills. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and resides in Rockford with his wife and three children.
Slawomir Krysztopa — Polish Gallery
Slawomir Krysztopa will be honored Sunday, July 1, in the Polish Gallery. He was born in 1964 in Augustov, Poland. He married his wife, Monica, at Eau Claire, Wis. He is employed at the Rockford Public Schools. He is a member of St. Stanislaus Church, where he is an Eucharistic Minister, Polish Council member, Religious Education teacher, and Polish Fest Committee member. He is a former soccer coach and PTO officer at Washington Academy, his daughter’s school.
From the June 6-12, 2012, issue