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Memphis Italian Festival 

Salutes

Our Outstanding Italians

1990 - LENO SODINI
1991 - HORACE PIEROTTI
1992 - SISTER BETTY FRACCHIA
1993 - ANGELO LUCCHESI
1994 - HOREST COLETTA
1995 - LEONARD PIEROTTI
1996 - FRANK NOVARESE
1997 - FATHER MILTON GUTHRIE
1998 - MARIO BERTAGNA
1999 - MAJOR LOUIS DISTRETTI
2000 - DR. EUGENE SPIOTTA
2001 - EMMA JEAN PIEROTTI
2002 - MIKE GARIBALDI
2003 - DR.ROBERT GARDINO
2004 - JOHN & DRU SCHIFANI
2005 - DOLLY PIERANTONI
2006 - EUGENE LUCCHESI
2007 - SAM BOMARITO
2008 - MSGR PETER BUCHIGNANI
2009 - FRANK GATTUSO
2010 - EDI GENO PACINI
2011 - LARRY GODWIN
2012 - BILL LUCCHESI
2013 - VINCE ALFONSO, JR
2014 - 25th Anniversary Honoring
      All Previous Winners
2015 -
TONY MARTINI
2016 - BISHOP TERRY STEIB
2017 - RITA SANTI GRIVICH
2018 - ERNIE VESCOVO
2019 - BRO JOEL W. MCGRAW, F.S.C.
2022 - FATHER WILLIAM J. PARHAM
2023 - PAUL VOLPE


 

Paul Volpe

2023  Outstanding Italian

A second generation Italian American, Paul Volpe was the first born son to John and Barbara Volpe on March 13, 1962.  John Volpe was the oldest of four children born in Chicago to his immigrant father, Paul Anthony Volpe, who emigrated from Triggiano, Italy, near Bari, and Mildred Carnevale Volpe, who hailed from Potenza, Italy.

The fourth of six Volpe children (3 girls, 3 boys), Paul grew up on the far north side of Chicago among a small, but vibrant, Italian American community, attending Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish and School nearby.  John and Barbara were both leaders in the school and parish, volunteering their time and talent to the parish and community, something young Paul never forgot.

Paul excelled in his academics and was placed in the Honors Program and college prep track at Gordon Tech High School.  He also excelled in basketball, striating and earning a letter on a basketball team the made it to the state finals in 1980.  He accepted an academic scholarship to Christin Brothers College in Memphis, TN and became the first in the Volpe family to attend and graduate from college in 1984,  It was there where he met the love of his life, Lauren McCabe, and they married in 1985.  In 1987, their first child, Jason, was born and they joined Holy Rosary Parish in 1990.  Daughter Cameron (1990) and son Dominic (1995) would soon follow.

Both Paul and Lauren assumed leadership positions in the Men's and Mother's Clubs and Paul also served on the Parish Finance Council for 10 years.  Paul would become an officer in the East Memphis Knights of Columbus and serve as a Grand Knight, and he was a Germantown Commissioner on the City Finance Commission and the Great Hall Commission.  He first worked as an MIF volunteer in 1992 selling admission tickets the first year it was held at Marquette Park.  In 1996, Paul chaired his first committee, the Volleyball Tournament, and subsequently the Ticketing Committee and then Sponsorship.  In 2002, he was approached by MIF founder, Mario Bertagna, about stepping into the Festival Chairman position and agreed, as along as they co-chaired the next Festival together. 

After 8 years at the helm of the MIF, expanding career responbilites became too great and Paul stepped down as Chairman, but continued to assist the Executive Committee in his role as past Chairman.  Approaching 40 years of experience in Accounting and Finance, he is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Elvis Presley Enterprises and The Guest House at Graceland Hotel.  He and his wife Lauren are empty nesters, love to travel, and are proud grandparents of Emma Kathlyn Volpe (3), daughter of Jason and his wife Heather.

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