Each year, only a handful of nominees receive the rare honor bestowed by the President of the Republic of Italy
Hon. Basil Russo was formally inducted as a “Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy” on Sunday, Oct. 8.
The Order, established in 1951, is the highest-ranking honor of the Italian Republic.
The official ceremony took place in Little Italy at Angelo’s Nido Italia, where Russo earned the Cavaliere dell’ Ordine al Merito della’ Repubblica Italiana distinction; it is the most senior and important Italian order of merit bestowed by the President of the Republic of Italy.
Allegra Baistrocchi, the Consul of Italy in Detroit, traveled to Cleveland to conduct the presentation and carry out this rare honor.
“I have the honor and the privilege of standing before you to celebrate one of the very important Italian Americans, if not the most Important, in my opinion,” said Baistrocchi. “[The knighthood] is awarded for merit acquired by the nation in the field of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities; and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers…clearly, Basil covers a whole slew of these different sectors in which you could be getting this honor.”