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Newsmakers

Winter 2004

TONY ACCAMANDO, a Vietnam veteran, has founded the volunteer organization Friends of Danang which builds schools and medical centers in that Vietnamese city, where he was station during the war. Another of his projects helps children in Vietnam who have lost limbs lead normal lives.

LOUIS B. DEMATTEIS (1911-1995) goes down in history as the man who gave Sandra Day O'Connor her start. He was the district attorney for San Mateo, CA in 1952, when most law firms refused to hire women. Dematteis, however, gave a promising young law school graduate a job. Today Sandra Day O'Connor serves on the U.S. Supreme Court. Dematteis graduated from high school at 16, took law courses at night, and passed the California bar exam in 1932 at the age of 21. The youngest lawyer in the state, he ended his career as a Superior Court judge.

MARIA MAZZIOTTI GILLIAN had excerpts from her latest book, Italian Women in Black Dresses, read by Garrison Keller on his popular national radio program, "A Prairie Home Companion." After this exposure the book sold out of its first printing. It was one a Sons of Italy® Book Club selection for summer 2003. Gillian also received the 2003 New York Grand Lodge Sons of Italy® award for achievement in writing.

HENRY L. GIORDANO, who led the U.S. drug fight in the 40's and 50's, died of cancer last September at age 89. After practicing pharmacy, he became an undercover agent and later a congressional investigator for the U.S. Treasury Department, later becoming its head in the 1960's.

JUDGE ALDO GIROLAMI, a justice of the California Supreme Court, is hearing the widely publicized trial of Scott Peterson, charged with murdering his wife and unborn child in California last year. Appointed to the bench in 1984, Girolami served 13 years in the district attorney's office with 10 as chief deputy. He belongs to the Sons of Italy®'s Modesto Lodge #2021 in Modesto, CA, and is married to Vera Girolami, the California Grand Lodge's first vice president.

MAJ. GEN. RAYMOND ODIERNO, commander of the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq, was the general whose troops captured Saddam Hussein Dec. 13, 2003. For months, he alone insisted that Hussein was hiding near Tikkrit, where he was, in fact, captured. Odierno, 49, is a West Point graduate in engineering and a rising star in the Army, known for his brains and brawn. The son of a Columbia University-educated engineer, he grew up in Rockway, N.J.

FRANCES VISCO is the founding president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, a grassroots advocacy group that lobbies Congress on issues of concern to breast cancer patients and their families. A breast cancer survivor herself, Visco is a former attorney who served three terms on the President's Cancer Panel (1993-1999). She will be honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation® at its Washington gala in May.

ALFRED ZAMPA (1905-2000), an ironworker who survived a fall from the Golden Gate Bridge during its construction in 1936, has been posthumously honored by San Francisco, which has named its newest bridge the Zampa Memorial Bridge. He survived the fall, breaking four vertebrae, and after a lengthy recovery, went back to work on the famous symbol of San Francisco.