My family have been supporters of the Boys' & Girls' Town of Rome since the early 1950's and my grandmother, the late Mary Thanos, helped found and establish the San Francisco Chapter. I cherish the commemorative medal of service awarded my grandmother and the Ravetti Family; plus, the many handmade gifts from the children, event photos, news clippings, personal letters from Mosignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing and the committee meeting notes my mother, Alice Ravetti, Woman of the Year 2000, lovingly collected over the years. My grandmother's sister, Lee and her husband Michael J. Borelli along with their daughter, Grace Borelli-Brusseau and her husband Leonard Brusseau are also loyal supporters, dedicating several decades of unflagging support since 1957.
For over 50 years, mother served on both the executive committees of the Fashion Show and the Ball of the Year. My parents (back row, the middle couple standing) along with my father's siblings and their spouses are pictured above at the 1958 Ball of the Year held at the Fairmount Hotel, San Francisco. It's still held today under Larry Nibbi's charismatic leadership. Hard to believe it's been over 60 years!
My parents, David and Alice Ravetti, equally admired and loved Monsignor Abbing and Brother D'Adamo. Whenever Brother "D", as he's affectionately known, and Janet Sguera came to San Francisco, it was a special occasion. Throughout the years, I recall how much my parents, along with Frank Dell'Omo, a close family friend and generous donor, were thrilled at the honor of squiring Brother D around to his many appointments whenever he landed in San Francisco the week before the Ball. At the end of the day of such a memorable occasion, family and friends would congregate around our dinner table while Brother D would have us howling with laughter hearing his anecdotes brimming with wit and humor. Whether young or old, Brother D was a modern, exemplary role model for the "youth" in all of us. Upon meeting Monsignor's worthy successor, one couldn't help but want to know more about the humble origins of the Shoeshine Hotel, which became the Boys' Town of Rome, located just outside the Vatican walls; and give toward this worthy organization aiding over 180,000 boys and girls escape poverty and violence from 20 countries around the world and now known as A Chance In Life.
Mary E. Ravetti, Third-Generation Supporter
*Photograph by Tom Vano of Vano Photography