WEST CALDWELL, NJ - On Friday, June 14, the seventh annual Vero Amici Casino Night was held at the Hanover Manor. Vero Amici means “True Friends” and it appeared evident that evening that many friends, old and new, had turned out to support the charity during its only fundraiser of the year. Ticket admission included a multi-course buffet meal, as well as $50 in gaming chips which would be used to win tickets for the Tricky Tray.
From left: Mike Roth, Vero Amici member Steve Puzzo and West Caldwell Mayor Joe Tempesta
Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
West Caldwell Mayor Joe Tempesta was in attendance, enjoying the craps table, and later commented, “Vero Amici Is a great organization and they are to be commended for all of their efforts. Their generous donations will help so many people in need and in turn they help our community be recognized as a caring community. God bless the great work they do.”
Vero Amici was originally formed in 2005 by Italian-American men from the West Essex area who wanted to establish a fund through donations for children, citizens with disabilities, seniors and underprivileged youth who may be in need of medical or financial assistance. The group gives all of its proceeds to charitable causes; it does not have any accounting, legal, printing or technical costs; all of these services are donated to the organization. In addition, all members pay dues, and if at the end of the year there is a surplus, that money gets moved into the donation account, as well.
Nancy Betchler at the roulette table, on far left, with her friends
Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
- Dominick Aiello
- Patrick Aiello
- Vincent Christopher
- Gabriel DiMasi
- Bob Ehnert
- Joe Garamella
- Jerry Levesque
- Joe Maddaloni
- Brian Manzo
- Pete Matthiack
- Robert Ragozine
- Carmine Scaglione
- Paul Vento
Vero Amici’s president, Joe Garamella of West Caldwell, served in the role of emcee throughout the evening and also provided entertainment through his disc jockey talents as “DJ Joey G.” He commented, “Deciding to give to charity is a commendable choice, but deciding which charity to give to is just as important and often more difficult. Some charities are more effective than others, and since you want to do the most good possible with your money, deciding where to give can be a big decision.”
Silent Auction and Tricky Tray
Gift selections which included sports memorabilia provided by the New Jersey Devils and New York Mets, Broadway show tickets and other items and certificates for services from local businesses, were all given away at the end of the evening to those who participated in the silent auction and tricky tray raffles. One highly coveted item was the Ronald Reagan gift basket filled with over $450 worth of items from the Reagan Library, as well as the 51-inch Samsung Plasma television which had been donated by the Codey-Jones Funeral Home of Caldwell.
West Caldwell Chief of Police Michael J. Bramhall was apparently enjoying playing Texas hold 'em Poker. He later commented that he was “proud to come out and support such a great charity like Vero Amici, an organization that does so many great things for people in this community.”
From left: West Caldwell Chief of Police Michael J. Bramhall, Vero Amici member
Frank Mondsini and his wife, Natalie Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Enjoying the evening were West Caldwell Councilman Joe Cecere along with Joe and Lisa Galioto.
From left: West Caldwell Councilman and Vero Amici member Joe Cecere, Vero Amici member Joe Galioto and Lisa Galioto Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Along with direct donations to many families who were met with tragedies or needed medical assistance, in the past Vero Amici has also supported the following:
- Local Assistance Board of Caldwell-West Caldwell
- Mental Health Association of Essex County
- NJ Sharing Network for Organ and Tissue Donation
- Sandy Relief Efforts
- Special Needs Program, West Caldwell-Caldwell
- Mount St. Joseph Children's Center, Totowa
- St. Rocco’s School in Newark for abused and neglected children
- The Bridge of Caldwell-West Caldwell
- West Essex First Aid Squad
From left: Beth Anderson Frederickson, Patty Blum LiSante and Frank LiSante Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Attending the evening’s event was Corrine Summerville who spoke to the guests expressing her appreciation for how Vero Amici had touched her life. In 2008, Summerville had traveled to the Coastal Bend Clinic in Corpus Christi Texas to treat her Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome. RSD is a painful nerve disorder which affects the nerves, skin, muscles, blood vessels and bones at the same time. The group had provided the funds for Summerville to attend the clinic and receive treatment for her disorder.
From left: Lia Nicolette and her friend Credit: Carolyne Volpe Curley
Garamella referenced the quote, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains forever.” Anyone wishing to make a donation to the organization can make a donation online here. Vero Amici for Charity is a registered 501c3 organization and all donations are tax deductible and will be used solely for charitable purposes.