Solon Italian Club

Mission Statement

   "The purpose of this organization is to promote the heritage, culture and traditions of Italian-Americans through social, educational and recreational events.  The organization shall also advance the educational development of Italian-American youth by generating and distributing funds for collegiate scholarships."

An Interview With Brett Neff

We live in crazy times. (It is good to see the calendar turn over to 2021, no?)  This has made planning for Club events very difficult.  The Board has tried hard to create events that will let us get together.  The results have been mixed and we understand why some people are reluctant to attend these events.  We think it's best hold off planning future events until things clear up a bit.

Brett Neff is President of the Solon Italian Club. We asked him some questions about how the Club has dealt with a tough year.

Q:  Obviously 2020 was an unusual year for everyone and especially for social groups like the Club. What did the Club do in response to the challenges you faced? 

A: In response to Covid19 we had to make some adjustments to keep our members safe.  We cancelled a few events and limited the size of others to keep our members safe.  We turned to a virtual monthly meeting to keep our members connected. 

Q: The Club is active in the community with a strong scholarship program. Has that changed at all? 

A: Our club remains active in the community volunteering to help the less fortunate and we continue with a strong scholarship program for graduating Seniors.  We have provided gift cards during the holidays and volunteer at the food bank and salvation army. 

Q: What do you and the Board have planned in 2021?

A: Our board is hoping to hold our always popular Dinner Dance in the spring and our annual golf outing in late summer.  It is also our hope that we can have our Stag raffle later in the year.

Welcome New Officers and Trustees

At the July General Meeting the Club proudly welcomed Brett Neff as our new President Sam Merolla as Vice President and two new trustees, Mark Bertolone and Dominic Lanteri.
President, Brett Neff. Brett has been an important Club member since he joined us. He has run the Solon Italian Club Foundation's biggest fundraiser, the Golf Outing, for a couple of years. He has already shown great leadership in these unusual times. We look forward to his leadership for the next three years.

Vice President, Sam Merolla. Sam attends almost every event and is the unofficial club photographer. He runs the Club's Facebook page and recently served as a Trustee.  Sam is committed to improving communications among Club members.

Trustee, Mark Bertolone. A member since 2000 he runs the Stag Raffle and is the unquestioned best ticket seller in the Club.

Trustee, Dominic Lanteri. A member of the Sunshine Committee Dominic heads the Clambake Committee.
Congratulations to all the winners. We're sure they'll do a great job!  The Club would also like to thank Past President, Mike Rhea for his efforts and leadership during his term.  Thanks also to Past Vice President Joe DiNardo for his efforts.  We appreciate the great job they did leading the Club.

This year's Board of Trustees. Photo by Michael Steinberg
Winners of the Man of the Year Award. Photo by Michael Steinberg

Where Are They Now

With "shelter-in-place" orders in effect we wondered how some of our past Scholarship winners were doing. 

The D’Orazio boys, Anthony, Michael and Brian all received a Club scholarship when the graduated from Solon High School (grad year in parentheses). They are the sons of Club member Jim D’Orazio.

Anthony (2000). Anthony graduated from Duke University in 2004 with a BS in Biology and a BA in Visual Art. In 2012 he received his Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology from The Ohio State University.  Anthony is Chief Operation Officer and also a coach at Complete Human Performance, LLC. He is also an adjunct professor at OSU and Capital University. He lives in Columbus with his wife, Maria.

Michael (2002). Mike graduated from Miami University with a degree in Accounting. He is currently Assistant Controller for Fairfield Residential. Mike says, “One of the things I learned growing up with my parents, is that your Italian heritage is very important so I have always been proud of being an Italian American. I was an active member of the high school Italian Club. I am currently a member of the Solon Italian Club partly because I remain grateful for the Club’s generosity in awarding me a scholarship.”


Brian (2004) Brian majored in Spanish and History at Kenyon College.  He is currently AVP – Email Marketing Manager, U.S. Bank.  Brian says, “Growing up as an Italian-American you learn very quickly that being an Italian American is a gift. A gift not only to yourself but also a gift to be shared. I have always enjoyed bringing friends to Italian specific events and celebrations, like the Feast where they can get a taste of my everyday life growing up. I still get comments about our trips to Little Italy years later.”  Brian lives in Minneapolis with his wife Megan and their son Remy.

Congratulations to Mike DiCarro, Carl Panetti, Jim LePorte and Lenny Visconti on their victory. 

Thanks to everyone who played this year. Special thanks to Commissioner Carl Panetti and Lou Bellante for organizing everything. It was fun!

The D'Orazio all cleaned up.
The Boys with Grandma Rosie
Hey where's Donny
Great turnout of people readyto go.
The kitchen crew does have fun.
Buon Compleanno!

Best wishes to the following members who celebrate birthdays in the month of January:

3/2       Daniel Margheret                   
3/8       Joe Filippo                              
3/8       Nick Gambino                        
3/9       Joe Rea                                   
3/11     Dave DiFrancesco                  
3/14     Jerry Negrelli                          
3/15     Jerry Fiorucci  

3/16     Mike Rhea
3/19     Mark Cancasi
3/20     James DeGaetano
3/21     Ron Corsi
3/27     Joseph Minadeo
3/29     Rob Previte

Upcoming Events:
We hope to see you all soon!
If you haven't paid yet please don't forget to bring your membership dues of $75 to next week's meeting. If you can't make the meeting just drop a check in the mail.  You can send your check, made out for $75 to the Solon Italian Club, to:
Solon Italian Club  
PO Box 39602
Solon, Ohio 44139

Club Officers:
President:           Brett Neff

Vice President:    Sam Merolla

Treasurer:           Tom DiCarro

Secretary:           Dave Cosentino