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ILICA Celebrates New York City Fire Department’s Columbia Association’s 78th Anniversary Scholarship Dinner
The Columbia Association was established in 1934 by Fire Captain John Capillo of Engine 28 because of his concern about the serious losses of life from recent fires in tenement houses, and especially among Italian occupants. He formed a group of fire department members of Italian extraction who could understand and speak the Italian language. This group of men under the instruction of Captain Capillo adopted a set of simple rules, which would instruct these new immigrants on what to do in case of a fire, which in turn could save their lives."
Vincenzo Marra, Salvatore Cassano, Michele Siracusano, Susy Marra
Today the Columbia Association is still active in promoting and providing opportunities for the social and fraternal betterment of its members in the spirit of fellowship and brotherhood. The Columbia continues to be active in promoting Italian heritage and language. High School students, who have demonstrated exceptional ability and perseverance in their studies, are each year awarded scholarships at this event.
Honorees included Mario Cilento, the newly named President of the New York State AFL-CIO, Chief Edward S. Kilduff, the FDNY’s Chief of the Department, the highest ranking position in the agency, and the Stephen Siller Foundation, created by Stephen Siller’s brother who laid down his life on 9/11 as a firefighter. The foundation provides scholarships for local children who have lost a parent, the establishment of Stephen’s House of the New York Foundling for orphaned, abused and neglected children, as well as scholarships to children of the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the Afghan and Iraqi wars.
Distinguished guests included Salvatore J. Cassano, New York’s current Fire Commissioner, as well as past Columbia President and ILICA Board member Vincent Tummino and retired Chief of the Fire Department and as well as ILICA Board member, Daniel Nigro.