BONANNO LODGE HISTORY
The Sgt. F. M. Bonanno Lodge # 2549, Order Sons of Italy in America, received its Charter on September 17, 1983. The lodge was formed in Boca Raton, Florida & received its name from US Army Sgt. Frederick Bonanno, the first US Serviceman killed in action in Viet Nam in 1967, from southeastern, Florida. In 2017, our name changed to the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America. We continue to be a Fraternal organization seeking to promote national education & secure adequate laws for the benefits of its members active participation in the political, social and civic life of our communities.
The membership of the Sgt. Bonanno Lodge stands at the ready seeking ways and means to raise funds for our charities, Cancer Fund, Cooley’s Anemia Fund, Autism Fund, Veterans, Community Outreach & Alzheimer Fund. Our Lodge sponsors various fund raisers which have raised thousand of dollars in support of these charities. We also have a scholarship program that addresses the needs of graduating high school students. We work in partnership with the George Snow Scholarship Fund since 1994 and have raised a total of $43,250.00 through 2015 and have awarded these funds to 22 students. We also have a scholarship program that awards scholarships to the children and grandchildren of our members.
It’s our goal to continue to promote our Italian Heritage, Culture and Language. We also work closely with the Italian Consul General and Education Director with offices in Coral Gables, Florida in an effort to promote the teaching of the Italian language in Florida’s High Schools. Our pride and joy is what we accomplished in the Legislative area, nationally and state wise. On the national level the Sons and Daughters of Italy worked tirelessly along with our Federal Senators and Congressman to produce two great pieces of Legislation, namely “Una Storia Segreta” (The Secret Story), about the WWII Wartime Violation of Italian Civil Liberties Act which was signed into law on November 11, 2000, by President William Clinton. It took four years of hard work to have “The Secret Story” become law. Also, we were able to have a United States postage stamp produced in honor of Gunnery Sgt, USMC John Basilone recipient of the ”NAVY CROSS AND THE MEDAL OF HONOR, the two highest awards a member of the military can receive. House Resolution 218 was passed on November 10, 2005, which just happened to be the birthday of the United States Marine Corp. “SEMPER FI”.
Another two legislative programs passed in Florida was a dream of our membership, and became law thanks to the valuable assistance of Florida State Senator Maria Sachs. Also, certificate testing of the Italian language became State Law when HB 207 was passed on June 20, 2008. Once again Senator Sachs comes through fo us, and on May 1, 2014, the Florida Senate Resolution passes Senate Resolution 720 by a vote of 40-0, which called for the month of October, and every month of October thereafter as Italian and Italian American Heritage month. An original copy of this resolution was signed by then President of the Senate, Don Gaetz, is in the possession of our Lodge. Senator Gaetz is currently a member of the United States Congress.
In the several years, we have become part of the social media craze.
We stand ready to face the future & will continue to promote programs that will keep the dreams of our ancestors alive who came to the shores of America to make a better life for their families. They did not fail.
Commandatore Edward Mottola, Jr.
Ufficiale Dell’Ordine Della Stella d’Italia