CLARK, NJ – The Clark Chapter of UNICO recently held its 40th Anniversary Celebration with a gala dinner. Over 100 members and guests gathered to commemorate the event and recognize the work of the organization.
The evening was filled with music, speeches, memories, special guests and a proclamation from Mayor Sal Bonaccorso. An extensive display of UNICO memorabilia was available for guests to peruse including the original charter, trophies, letters, programs, photos and various awards collected over forty years.
The original founding member of the Clark Chapter of UNICO, Tony Roccia spoke briefly as did club historian Henry Varriano, National President Tom Vaughan, Executive Vice President Lee Norelli and former President Ralph Bernardo.
Roccia started the Clark Chapter after meeting UNICO members at an Italian Hertiage celebration at the Garden State Arts Center. "They (UNICO) had a table and I met some nice members there and decided it would be nice to have this organization here in town," said Roccia. "I had to get 20 people to start a chapter and then the Scotch Plains chapter sponsored us." Roccia laughed when he explained that the twentieth member was a friend he realized had some Italian heritage, so he paid his dues and signed him up so he could get the chapter started.
Current Chapter President Joe Arancio spoke with pride about being a UNICO member when he addressed the attendees. “With so many service organizations becoming a thing of the past each year, I am proud of how solid and strong the Clark Chapter is, living up to our motto of ‘service above self.’ Equally important I am proud of my Italian heritage and how it relates to the support, work and services we currently strive for in the philosophy of UNICO National.” said Arancio.
UNICO gives back to the community in service through donations to charities and organization in and around the area.
“Providing for veterans, Clark’s Annual Italian Feast, coat drives and much more are all part of what we do to honor the UNICO platform of service about self,” said Bernardo. “It does a heart good when you serve those less fortunate, lonely, handicapped, aged, the community children….there’s no better feeling than bringing a smile to someone’s face.”
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