Italian American Association names Hall of Fame recipients

Lewis Maffioli is presented the Hall of Fame Award by Frank Perrecone, GRIAA co-chairman.
Lewis Maffioli is presented the Hall of Fame Award by Frank Perrecone, GRIAA co-chairman.

By Valeri DeCastris
Publicity Chairman, Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA)

Annual Hall of Fame awards were recently bestowed upon members of the Italian American community at Franchesco’s Restaurant in Rockford.

Sponsored by the Greater Rockford Italian American Association (GRIAA), the awards recognize community members for their achievements in various fields of endeavor and their contributions to the preservation of the Italian culture in Rockford. This

Vietnam Veterans Group Viet Now (Paul Cassioppi, Tony Circelli, Anthony Bove and Nick Parnello, with nominator Paul Logli).
Vietnam Veterans Group Viet Now (Paul Cassioppi, Tony Circelli, Anthony Bove and Nick Parnello, with nominator Paul Logli).

prestigious group is composed of area Italian Americans who have made significant contributions to the community. These men and women have shown a tremendous amount of dedication and leadership. Inductees are nominated by the community and selected by the Hall of Fame and Special Recognition Committee annually.

This year’s Hall of Fame Award went to Lewis Maffioli, owner of Wilson Electric Company in Rockford. The Maffioli family was the first Italian immigrant family to settle in Rockford in the late 1800s.

In addition to the Hall of Fame Award, special recognition awards are given in various categories. Special recognition awards were

The Cason family of Maria’s Italian Café (Maria Cason, Johnny Cason and Joey Cason with presenter Frank Perrecone, GRIAA co-chairman
The Cason family of Maria’s Italian Café (Maria Cason, Johnny Cason and Joey Cason with presenter Frank Perrecone, GRIAA co-chairman

bestowed upon the Vietnam Veterans Honor Society and Maria’s Italian Café.

The Vietnam Veterans Honor Society began in Rockford and spread nationally. Maria’s Café was operated by three generations of the Cason family and was a fixture in south Rockford for nearly 100 years. It was granted the first liquor license in the City of Rockford in the early 1900s.

The Mike Alongi Trio provided entertainment for hundreds of people at the dinner awards banquet.

Visit the website at griaa.com to learn more about the GRIAA or to nominate next year’s awardees.

From the Jan. 7-13, 2015, issue

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