Before longtime Avon Day Committee chairman Len Del Gallo Sr. passed away last January, UNICO had already decided to name him Avon Citizen of the Year.
But it was the first time UNICO awarded the honor posthumously. UNICO recognized Del Gallo Sr. as Citizen of the Year at the opening ceremony for Avon Day 2013 on Saturday.
Del Gallo Sr.'s wife, Marlene Del Gallo, of Avon, accepted the award on his behalf.
In addition to chairing Avon Day for 12 years, Del Gallo Sr. was very involved in the community.
Town Council Chairman Mark Zacchio knew Del Gallo mostly through his work on the Avon Day Committee but also as a family friend and Avon Little League supporter.
The committee asked Zacchio to give remarks about Del Gallo at the opening ceremony for Avon Day 2013.
Zacchio's first time speaking at Avon Day demonstrated the sense of humor for which Del Gallo Sr. was known. Sitting on the stage before the ceremony, Zacchio told Del Gallo Sr. that he was nervous. Len asked him what he was going to talk about and after he told him, Del Gallo Sr. assured him that everything Zacchio planned to say was what people would want to hear.
When Del Gallo Sr. spoke before Zacchio, he had a well received speech. Unfortunately for Zacchio, it was his speech. Del Gallo Sr. said "good luck" to him and smiled as Zacchio walked up to the podium about to give a speech from scratch on the spot.
Del Gallo was always on the sidelines at Avon Little League games, Zacchio said. After one particular loss, Zacchio recalled him saying to the team in a light-hearted way "you really let this one slip through your fingers, didn't you?" But it didn't matter because Del Gallo would come back to watch the games every time.
In Del Gallo's time as Avon Day Committee chairman, he was instrumental in growing the event, according to his colleagues.
Del Gallo recruited many local businesses and non-profits to participate, while keeping the business non-commercial, Zacchio said.
“He had this drive that Avon Day needed to be about the
community," Zacchio said before Avon Day. "I always appreciate that in him through the years I got to
work with him.”