By Lisa Capobianco
From serving on the Town Council to directing plays at the middle schools to planning for the annual Apple Harvest Festival, Chris Palmieri plays a number of different roles in the community.
In honor of all his contributions to the community, the Southington Chapter of UNICO National will award Palmieri with the 69th UNICO Gold Medal of Honor Award for 2013. Since 1945, the Italian service organization has awarded individuals for their involvement in a number of different areas, including the arts, education, religion and sports among others.
“I’m humbled,” said Palmieri, adding that the award is also special because his parents, Joanne and Jim Palmieri, who were actively involved in UNICO, also won the award in 1998. “I enjoy everything I’m doing—I really love helping other people out.”
Town Attorney Mark Sciota, the co-chairperson of the Gold Medal subcommittee that reviews applications for the highest-level award, said nominations are collected from UNICO board members and other members of the community. Once applications are submitted, the subcommittee reviews each nominee’s resume of different service projects.
Sciota said Palmieri’s contributions to the community exemplifies UNICO’s motto of “service above self.”
“He has been in service to Southington almost all his life,” Sciota said.
“When he gets involved with something…he goes full-speed ahead,” added Bill Della Vecchia, who serves as co-chairperson of the Gold Medal subcommittee.
For years, Palmieri has played a variety of different roles in all aspects of the community. Besides serving on subcommittees for the Town Council, including the Sewer, Public Works and Ordinance Committee, Palmieri has served as an usher for St. Aloysious Church. He has also served as co-chair for the Apple Harvest Festival Committee, as well as the director of the DePaolo and Kennedy Middle Schools, and the summer aquatic director. Palmieri has received over several awards, including the YMCA Person of the Year in 2010 and the CT Assistant Principal of the Year in 2013.
Palmieri will receive the Gold Medal Award on May 21 at the Aqua Turf Club.