Nutley Unico gives Lifetime Achievement Award at January meeting

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NUTLEY, NJ — Nutley Unico, a chapter of Unico National, held its monthly meeting Thursday, Jan. 5, welcoming new members Sharon Balsamo, William Cutillo, Daniel Ervolino and Joseph Trentacost. 

The Mille Grazie Award was given to Maurice Ferraro for his service to Nutley Unico, and the highlight of the evening, besides the outstanding menu, was Phil Cuzzi receiving Nutley Unico’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Cuzzi is an American League baseball umpire. He worked as a reserve umpire in the National League from 1991 to 1993 and returned to the NL in 1999. Since 2000, he has worked in both major leagues. A graduate of Belleville High School, Cuzzi is also known for his untiring work to raise money to find a cure for ALS, the disease that claimed the life of his friend, Robert Luongo. The initial Robert Luongo ALS Fund dinner was held to raise funds for Luongo’s daughter to go to college, but has continued for decades, impacting many families and individuals stricken with this terrible disease. Cuzzi shared his story as an Italian American to the delight of the 97 members and guests in attendance at the event. Nutley Unico, which currently has 177 members, donated $250 to the Luongo ALS Fund as a gift to Cuzzi.

Nutley Unico also received a plaque in appreciation of its support of Columbus Day celebrations and the Carabinieri from Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey President Pasquale Meola. 

Unico National is the largest Italian American service organization in the United States, celebrating 100 years of “service above self” in 2022. Nutley Unico has been promoting and preserving its Italian heritage since 1959. 

Photos Courtesy of Lorraine Kucinski

Caption 1: From left are Nutley Unico secretary Catherine Marucci; 1st Vice President Danielle Ferrara Manganello; new members Daniel Ervolino, Joseph Trentacost, William Cutillo and Sharon Balsamo; and President Daniel Carnicella. 

Caption 2: From left are Nutley Unico member Salvatore Cocco, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Phil Cuzzi and President Daniel Carnicella.

Caption 3: Members of the Nutley Unico executive committee, from left, are immediate past President Vito Matturro, Frank Cocchiola, 2nd Vice President Pasquale Pisani, secretary Catherine Marucci, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Phil Cuzzi, President Daniel Carnicella, treasurer Tom Sposato, immediate past district governor Marie Solimo, 3rd Vice President Frank Russo and 1st Vice President Danielle Ferrara Manganello. Sal Ferraro, corresponding secretary, is not pictured.

Caption 4: President Daniel Carnicella receives a plaque from the Federation of Italian American Societies of New Jersey, presented by Vito Matturro of the parade committee.