NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

NIAF’s leadership, including Jerry Colangelo, Ken Aspromonte, William LaRosa and Charles Turano, gathered in Dallas, Texas on April 16, 2010 to kick off the Foundation’s upcoming Texas Gala at a pre-gala event hosted by Joe DePinto – president and CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc., a member of the NIAF Board of Directors and gala chairman – at The Adolphus Hotel.

The luncheon showcased the Foundation’s upcoming May 15, 2010 regional gala at The Adolphus – the first Dallas event in NIAF’s history. Attendees also celebrated NIAF’s Texas Gala honorees including NHL All-Star Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars; Bruno Mascolo, co-founder and CEO of Toni & Guy; Jay Lombardo, president and CEO of Lombardo Custom Apparel; and Victor “Vic” Salvino, dealer principal of Texas Kenworth Co. Gaetano Mascolo, brother of Bruno and also a co-founder of Toni & Guy, will receive a NIAF Achievement Award posthumously.

NIAF’s Chairman Jerry Colangelo opened the program and spoke about our ties to prominent Texans over the Foundation’s 35-year history. In 2006, NIAF honored President George H.W. Bush, with the “One America Award” presented by fellow Texan and NIAF founding member, Jack Valenti. Valenti also received a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Public Service during the Foundation’s Anniversary Gala in 1999. Additionally former First Ladies Barbara Bush and Laura W. Bush were honored in 2001 and 2007, respectively, with NIAF Special Achievement Awards in Literacy. Former President George W. Bush also attended our annual convention weekend in Washington, D.C., in 2007 and, with his wife, Laura W. Bush, is serving as a patron of the Texas Gala.

Gala honorees Lombardo and Salvino were on hand during the pre-gala luncheon to meet guests and speak with media professionals from CBS/ KRLD News Radio 1080, NBC5/KXAS-TV and Pegasus News.

During the luncheon, two complimentary gala tickets were presented to Flavio Ronzani of RONPARCO from a raffle drawing. NIAF area coordinator in North Texas Charlie Turano presented the Foundation’s cuff links to Mario Messina, Lucian M. LaBarba,, president of American FoodService, and Charles Turano, Sr. for their dedication to the Italian American community. Lisa Newman of the Italian Club of Dallas and Roberto Conti, CEO of the Conti Group, won the raffle for an autographed football helmet signed by Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens.

The luncheon was a wonderful opportunity for Italian Americans in the Southwest to celebrate their shared heritage as NIAF prepares for next month’s gala.

Monsignor Milam Joseph closed the luncheon with the benediction. He spoke about the Latin meaning of “courage” through its roots -- the ability to move forward from one’s heart. He likened the meaning to the guests and the Italian American community.

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