Honor and Hope Gala 2017
Saturday, April 29
550 Shriners Drive, Addison
Charitable Donations and Academic Scholarship Award’s Banquet
Dominic Saverino Humanitarian Award Recipient: Lou Scaramuzzo
The Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization was proud to honor Louis Scaramuzzo as our 2017 Humanitarian of the Year. A top performer in the luxury automobile market for three decades, Lou pours his heart and soul into every aspect of his life.
With paternal grandparents Louis and Immaculata Scaramuzzo hailing from Caserta near Naples, and maternal grandparents Carmelo and Rosina Termine emigrating from Marsala in Sicily, Lou’s Italian roots run deep. The oldest of Peter and Mary Scaramuzzo’s four children, Lou was born in Chicago and raised in Oak Lawn. “My parents grew up on Taylor Street and they instilled in me the old-neighborhood values of working hard and treating people with respect,” he explains. Lou and his siblings — Rosemarie, Mark, Carl — share fond memories of an Italian upbringing filled with family and tradition. “My maternal grandmother lived with us and my paternal grandparents lived nearby,” he fondly recalls. “We’d gather every Sunday and on holidays for big family meals where we kept our Italian customs alive.”
A graduate of Brother Rice High School, Lou spent the first 20 years of his professional career in wholesale liquor distribution. But when the industry began to consolidate in the late 1980s, it was time for a change.” A dear friend of mine who has spent his entire career in auto sales, Dominic Pugliani, convinced me that I had a brighter future there,” Lou recalls. “I made the switch and I couldn’t be happier.”
For Lou, auto sales is more than a just a profession. “With the automobile being the second largest purchase that most people make, you end up developing more than just loyal customers. Many of the them become good friends,” he explains. “My job is to make sure that they have the right car for the right price and to be there to answer all their questions, both before and after the sale.”
During a storied career in both sales and management, Lou earned the trust and respect of customers, fellow salespeople and management alike. He earned the title of Master Manager for several years running during his tenure at a local Cadillac dealership. He served on an elite team from across the nation that met quarterly to advise corporate leadership. Five years of sales experience at Mercedes-Benz dealerships followed, culminating in his current position at Mercedes-Benz of St. Charles. “This is more than a new opportunity for me,” Lou says. “It feels like I’ve come home.”
A member of CIACO since 2003 and a board member since 2006, Lou has been a driving force in the organization. He served as secretary as well as second and first vice president, and recently completed a seven-year stint as president. “My good friend Tom Reboletti invited me to join the organization,” Lou explains. “I saw the good they were doing and the opportunity they offered to give back to the community and celebrate my Italian heritage. It was a perfect fit.”
Lou is also passionately involved in the Chicago West Suburban Chapter of UNICO National. “Both groups are like extended families for me,” he shares. “There’s a brotherhood and a camaraderie there that can’t be beat. With all of his professional and philanthropic accomplishments, Lou is most proud of the family he has created with his children Carla, Peter and Laura; his grandchildren Sydney, Isabella, Kylie, Sophia, Courtney, Joseph, Isla and Declan; and his life partner, Linda Gagliano. “I’m proud to have been able to raise my children as a single parent and I’m so grateful to have Linda in my life,” he says. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful people and so much love.”
My son Anthony was born premature at 24 weeks weighing just over one pound. He was an identical twin, but his brother Angelo passed away after 67 days. Anthony had a grade 4 brain bleed that was discovered at about a week old. This has lead to him having Cerebral Palsy, auditory neuropathy and other developmental delays. Anthony cannot walk or talk and is in a wheelchair, but he has a smile that could light up a room and an even bigger personality.
Brian was a Barrington Firefighter for 19 ½ years. And had three deployments as a medic in the U.S. Navy. Brian has 14 years of military service and has recently been diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, a lung disease. He is currently not receiving any financial assistance and was medically discharged from the military. Brian is currently on unpaid leave from the fire department and no longer receives medical insurance from the Village of Barrington. Brian’s wife Maria started working minimum wage job to get the medical coverage they need. Almost all of her salary goes to cover the cost of their insurance. Brian has continued to try to find work but with his degraded lung capacity he cannot perform vigorous activity and tires easily. Brian’s condition has affected his lungs, spleen, stomach and liver. They are anticipating losing the home they raised their three boys in. Their oldest son passed away a short time ago due to brain cancer. Their middle son is currently serving in the Navy and the youngest is attending Loyola University. Fortunately Brian was able to transfer his GI Bill to his son to cover the tuition expense.
Danny and Sue Angerame were both born and raised on the Northwest side of Chicago and graduated from Holy Cross and Guerin Academies. They had 2 sons, Patrick and Timothy, who are now 24 and 23. Patrick is severly autistic. He is non-verbal, unable to use the bathroom on his own, has seizure disorder and at times, has meltdowns which lead to self-injury. For these reasons, he needs constant 24/7 care. Danny Angerame Danny’s life motto was “Family First”, and they understood the challenges of raising a child with special needs. Sue was a stay at home mom. It was difficult with only one income, but it was important that their sons have a parent always home. Danny was a great help. He cooked meals for Patrick, calmed him when he was upset, and helped him bathe. Unfortunately, Danny’s health started to deteriorate last year and he was admitted to the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. After three weeks, Danny passed away in December, 2016. Sue is unable to work since Patrick needs constant care. However, their family and friends make up an invaluable support system that provides them with the help they need. Even with everything they’ve been through, Sue is a firm believer that God won’t give you any more than you can handle.