Standing O is toasting Joseph Caggiano, an Italian immigrant who truly made his neighborhood great. Joseph immigrated to the United States from Caggiano, Salerno, with his parents when he was 10 years old.
He pursued the American dream by working hard, attending school — he played All City Soccer on the Lafayette High School team — and serving his country in the Vietnam War.
After serving in the military, he met and married Clelia DiPaola and together they raised three sons, Mario, Victor, and Anthony. The pair bought a home on Van Sicklen Street and lived there for more than 50 years.
Joseph worked as a union representative for Local 1181 and was active in his community. Over the years he worked closely with Assemblyman William Colton (D–Gravesend), started a police watch more than 30 years ago, and spearheaded many committees that addressed quality of life issues in the Gravesend community.
Approximately six years ago, Joseph, former president of the “Association Caggianesi D’ America,” began the process of renaming the intersection of Avenue T and Van Sicklen Street “Association Caggianesi D’ America Way,” in honor of his hometown and his family’s achievements. Unfortunately, explained his son Mario, he never saw his dream come true, as he passed away on Oct. 7, 2017.
On March 10, Joseph’s family and friends realized that dream as the new street sign was hoisted into place at a ceremony at the corner.
Wife Clelia, son Mario, cousin Mary Isoldi, Pasquale Carucci, president, and Antonio Parrella, vice president, of the Association Caggianesi d’America, Assemblyman Colton and other Caggiano family members watched proudly as the sign went up and Diana Marie Paunetto sang the Italian and American national anthems.
The Association Caggianesi D’America’s goals are to promote Caggianesi culture and link with other Italian organizations. The group hosts annual social events, has partnered with the village of Caggiano to host student and adult exchanges, and currently boasts 92 members representing 300 families across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Standing O says “Salute, grazia mile” to the Caggiano family for their continued community service in carrying on Joseph’s dream.