Having made an outstanding impact on the Bronx and the Italian community, John F. Calvelli has been named the grand marshal for the 33rd Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade by the Bronx Columbus Day Parade Committee.
Calvelli grew up along the streets of Arthur Avenue, and remembers celebrating his Italian heritage each year as he went with family and friends to watch the Columbus Day Parade.
“I was very active in the Italian community when I was a young child since both my parents were immigrants from Calabria,” said Calvelli. “Growing up, we always went to the Columbus Day Parade in Morris Park, so to be told I am grand marshal I was shocked and honored.”
Today Calvelli is the vice president of public affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society, but throughout the years has made numerous contributions to the Italian community.
As a student at Fordham University, while a member of several other Italian clubs and organizations, including the Belmont-Italian American Cultural Association, Calvelli founded the now national Italian organization, Fieri.
Calvelli spent many years working in the office of the then U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and as Associate Counsel to the New York State Assembly, but made significant improvements to U.S. and Italian government relations while working as chief-of-staff for Congressman Eliot Engel.
“I was knighted in Italy by the Italian government with Congressman Engel in 1998 for our efforts and role in producing close relations between Italy and the United States,” said Calvelli, who serves on the board of the National Italian American Foundation.
Recently, Calvelli was asked by the U.S. State Department to head our nation’s response to the L’Aquila earthquake and raised over $ 3 million for the cause.
Maintaining his culture even in his own home, Calvelli and his wife, Maria, make sure to speak Italian to their 10-year-old son, John Domenico.
Calvelli will lead the best of the Bronx along Morris Park Avenue and Williamsbridge Road on Sunday, October 11.
“As always, I look forward to this wonderful parade celebrating Italian culture, heritage and achievement. It brings the whole community together and has grown so much that people come from all over the city as well as Westchester and Rockland counties to see it,” said Tony Signorile, chairman of the parade committee. “There are people who have lived in the Bronx and have grown up with the Bronx parade. We are very proud to honor John F. Calvelli this year.”