A GRIFFITH charitable association of Italian ex-servicemen has sadly finished up this month.
Distinguished by their unique traditional felt hats, the Alpini Association of Griffith have been a recognisable feature of the community since 1975 working hard to raise much needed funds within the region.
Former president of the Griffith Alpini Association Mario Vardenega said while he was sad the group was closing, he had many fond memories of the work they had done together over the years.
“It’s a bit sad we couldn’t keep going, but I feel very proud of course of what we have done,” Mr Vardenega said.
“During our time we donated a lot of money to charitable organisations, and we built the Alipini shelter at Lake Wyangan. In 1998 we had the opening of the shelter and the national president of the association came from Italy, which was a big honour.
“We also raised and donated money to erect the church altar made of Italian marble imported from Masa Carrara.
“We donated $20,000 for the Scalabrini opening and we also erected the metal fence around it.
“In 1999 we even had the national reunion of Alpini from Italy and Australia here in Griffith with 3000 people at the Yoogali Club.
The longest serving president of the Griffith Alpini, Mr Vardegega said what he would miss the most was the meeting up and talking between members.
“We had a good time,” he said with a smile.
The Alpini are going out with a bang donating their remaining $15,705.75 to local charities.
At their final meeting on Sunday, May 1 a donation of $3000 was made to the Griffith Private Hospital for the purchase of a new bed, $2000 was donated to the Motor Neurone Association in memory of former club president Joe Pasin who passed away from the disease. Riding for the Disabled received $2000, Griffith Base Hospital received $2000, the Heart Foundation $1000, Can Assist $1000 and the Diabetes Association $1000.
Mr Vardenega paid tribute to his wife and other women such as Franca Aloisi who had helped their organisation over the years.
“She’s proud she married an Alpino,” he said.