Fidelians Assist Their Poster Child

Fidelians Assist Their Poster Child

NORTH HALEDON — in late March, The Italian Voice was contacted by the Fidelians of America to attend an event at their headquarters in North Haledon on March 30th. It was explained that after dinner a program would take place where the organization would present to the parents of a special needs child a special wheelchair and a check for their young son.

Mrs. Cesarina Augusto Earl, publisher, a former honoree of the Fidelians years ago, attended, and was seated next to the current President Mr. Leonardo Agrusti. During dinner we enjoyed reminiscing about “the old days” in Paterson. The facility has a kitchen and a delicious hot buffet dinner was served at each round table.

Afterwards, the program began. The Jason Jarrell family of Wayne was called to step forward, and President Agrusti announced that the Fidelian Foundation would now present a special wheelchair designed for their three year old son Troy along with a $3,000 check for his care. Both parents work, and he has a specially trained baby sitter. Troy was born especially pre–mature, and is a quadriplegic.

Standing: Charles Auino, Eugene Mastroianni, Charles Tumminello, Dr. David Fontanella, Eugene Coppola, Anthony Fiorello, Esq., Dan Cataneo | Seated: Michael Leonessa, Joseph Gernimo, President and Lou Della Pesca, Vice President. All are Fidelian Foundation Trustees.

Standing: Charles Auino, Eugene Mastroianni, Charles Tumminello, Dr. David Fontanella, Eugene Coppola, Anthony Fiorello, Esq., Dan Cataneo | Seated: Michael Leonessa, Joseph Gernimo, President and Lou Della Pesca, Vice President. All are Fidelian Foundation Trustees.

ABOUT THE FIDELIANS

The Fidelians were formed in Paterson, NJ in 1939 as a charitable organization, by several prominent Italian businessmen. To this day, the membership is composed of over 100 men of Italian-American descent, who still remember and speak kindly of the founders. The founders, now all deceased, were Romualdo and Theodore Zoppo, two brothers known as “Ralph Zoppo and Ted Zoppo”, Esterino Brando Leone, remembered as “E.B. Leone”, Dr. Borlaso – Paterson Business College, Joseph Bellomo, the architect who designed St. Michael’s R.C. Church in Paterson and Fulvio Patella, MD (the latter may only have been an early member.)

An annual gala event was always very well attended by the membership and their ladies and families and was held in the main ballroom of the Alexander Hamilton Hotel on Market and Church Streets in Paterson, during the later 1940’s, ’50’s and ’60’s. The Fidelians relocated to their present facility at 219 Manchester Avenue, North Haledon, in the 1970’s.

Editor’s Note: Details of the founding of the Fidelians of America were provided by Mrs. Maria Zoppo Rodrig of Paterson and Stephen R. Leone, Esq. of Toms River, descendants of R. Zoppo and E.B. Leone.