Della Sala Charles HONOREE 2010
Charlie was born in New York on May 5, 1927. At the age of 3, he moved to Italy where he spent his childhood in Avellino, Fiorino, and Naples. He was educated by Salesian Priests in a school located outside of Naples. Charlie returned to New York City in 1946. Longing to master the English language, he joined the United States Army in 1947, and was sent to Fort Ord, California, for Basic Training. He served 3 years as a soldier at the Presidio of Monterey, Defense Language Institute, learning dentistry and learning to speak English.
One evening he heard music coming from the San Carlos Parish Hall. It was there he met his wife to be, local girl and Monterey born, Rosie Bruno. Romance turned into marriage on November 12, 1949. They raised 5 children, Annamarie, Anthony, Chuck, Kathy, and Maryann.
Charlie worked hard to support his family often working more than one job at a time. He proudly served the Monterey Fire Department for over 26 years, ending his service career as a Battalion Chief. Charlie was known at the fire department for his zest for life, his delicious homemade meatballs and sauce, his sense of humor, and his open heart, ready to help in any way possible. He put all those motivational books he read to good use, motivating his friends and family to be their best. Charlie became a realtor and opened Pacific Street Real Estate in 1974.
With a more flexible schedule, he became very active in the community. Charlie served as a member of the Monterey Kiwanis Club delivering Meals on Wheels, raising money for people in need, and helping with the Special Olympics. On November 23, 1980, an earthquake struck southern Italy. Charlie with Jerry Lucido, Peter Coniglio, and Frank Nuovo raised over $20,000 for the emergency earthquake committee of the Boy's Town of Italy, Inc. Charlie and Rose, at their own expense, flew to Italy and personally delivered a check to Msgr. J Patrick Carroll Abbie, the Boy's Town of Italy President. They wanted to insure that the victims of this disastrous earthquake were helped in their moment of greatest need.
Always looking for a new project, Charlie, Jerry, Peter, and Frank were instrumental in raising funds for the new San Carlos Parish Hall and the Santa Rosalia Statue located at Old Fisherman’s Wharf I. On June 24, 1987, the Sons of Italy held their 52nd Grand Convention in Monterey. Charlie was the General Chairman with Aldo DeRose as his co-chair. After 8 months of meetings involving many hours of planning and preparation, Charlie and Aldo with the help of numerous hard-working volunteers, culminated their efforts with a very successful convention.
Charlie contributed to the statue of the fisherman at the end of Wharf I, the Monterey Sport's Center, the restoration of San Carlos Church, to the National Italian American Foundation, and the New York Fire Fighters involved in the 911 Disaster. Charlie served as Orator for the Monterey Chapter of the Sons of Italy. Over the past 35 years he has served as Grand Trustee, Grand Deputy, President, Vice-President, Orator, and Trustee of the Monterey Lodge.
As a member of the Italian Heritage Society, AKA Italian American Cultural Center Foundation, Charlie was actively working to unify the various Italian American Clubs and create a place to proudly display and share their heritage. He is proud to be a member of the Monterey Italian Catholic Federation Branch #36 since 1984. For ten years he has been a member and donor to the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in Washington, D.C. There are about 3,000 members from the United States and Italy. He attends yearly meetings in Washington, D.C. NIAF donates yearly about $1,000,000 to help needy Italian American students and help people involved in earthquakes in Italy.
To quote Anna Panetta, "Charlie always asks, "What can I do to help?" He is always there volunteering and helping others.
Charlie is generous with his time and his resources. His passion for life and his "can do attitude" have been great gifts to his family and friends.