American First Italian Always
Florida Federation of Italian American Clubs
2013 PERSON OF THE YEAR
Joe (Peno) Contino, was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, to parents who emigrated from Sicily, Italy.
After his father passed away, when he was 12 years old, Peno, as his mother called him grew up helping to take care of his family. He met the girl of his dreams at 9 years old and never had another girlfriend throughout his years. He joined the Navy at 17 and spent 18 months in the Pacific, serving on a Destroyer Escort DE414, USS LeRay Wilson. After his return from duty he married his childhood sweetheart Mary, at the age of 23.
Joe and Mary started a family soon after and then moved to their first home in New Hyde Park, NY. The family began to grow, his first born Vito, then came Joseph, and last but not least his daughter Carmela. These children have always been a source of pride and love. The Contino home was host to many Sunday dinners, holiday gatherings, and family get-togethers which always included his sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews with the family growing in leaps and bounds.
Joe was always and still is a very proud man, providing for his family was top of his list and to do this went into the construction field, helping to build and pave New York streets, airports and everywhere it was needed. He did this with pride and did it so well he was made foreman of a “gang” as it was called. Joe did this job for the next 25 years. He didn’t stop there, although he could have retired he didn’t he chose to continue working, but, now for the NYC EPA where he kept the sanitary infrastructure of NY flowing and functional for the next 15years.
Now it was time to retire and Mary and Joe decided the best place for them was Florida leaving his children who now were grown and married with children of their own, family who they were very close to, friends and all that they knew behind, but, they quickly grew to love their new life. Joe, never knowing what it was like to be idle, became involved with several organizations. He joined the Elks, The Knights of Columbus where he reached the rank of 4th Degree Color Core, and always with Mary at his side with praise and encouragement. This wasn’t enough for him. Hearing about the Italian Clubs and liking what he heard he decided too join The Italian American Club of Coconut Creek becoming their president from 1999-2001. Through the years and along with Coconut Creek Italian Club, Joe has joined many other clubs offering help in anyway he can. He doesn’t and hasn’t stopped there. His next venture was becoming involved with the Broward County Council of Italian American Clubs and going up ranks to became President and served for 4 years. At present he is the Councils Treasurer.
At present, Joe is a Past President of the Florida Federation of Italian Clubs, serving from 2009- 2011 filling all his duties and then some. For many years and till this day he has worked along side Shirley and Sherry Casey, co-chairing and hosting yearly Conventions, Officers Meetings, Annual Cruises which have been enjoyed by all who attend. Whenever he has been called upon he is always “right” there and available giving his all. Working on these functions never seems like work to him, but, enjoyment and a labor of love for the Federation and his heritage. Helping and seeing the Federation grow has always been his prime objective. His top achievements are not only the man that he is, but the proud father of 3, grandfather of 8 and great-grandfather of 7.
His motto has always been “WHEREVER YOU GO AND WHATEVER YOU DO, GO WITH A SMILE ON YOUR FACE AND A SONG IN YOUR HEART”. GOD BLESS
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Florida Federation of Italian American Clubs, Inc.