September 2019




President’s Message

Brothers and Sisters,

Here we are edging ever-so-closely to the fall. Well, actually we are nowhere close to cooler weather, but we are ramping up toward our busiest time of year as a lodge! This also is the time of year when we raise the majority of our funds, so it is very important.

The Seafood Festival is coming up soon, followed by our Festa Italiana! A lot of work goes into these events, but they are also so much fun. We provide a great event for the community to enjoy, which should be a source of pride for us all. I hope you are all as excited as I am! To put it in a more youthful phrase, “I’m pumped!”

On a more serious note, let’s keep our brothers and sisters on the East Coast in our thoughts as Dorian approaches. This is a great reminder to have our own preparations in place, as this is the peak of Hurricane Season.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all at the meeting!


Brooke Hardy
Buona Fortuna Lodge

Installation Dinner 2010 058

Membership Information

General Membership Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, 140 W. Government St. Pensacola.

Our next General Membership Meeting is Thursday, September 12, 2019, at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Parish Center. A business meeting will follow at 7:00 p.m. Please bring a non-perishable food item or health product for our Manna Food Pantry donation. Members who served in the military during the Vietnam era will be honored at this meeting.

Council Meetings

First Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at Franco’s Italian Restaurant.

Grand Lodge Quarterly Meetings

UPPER KEYS SONS & DAUGHTERS LODGE: October 4-5, 2019 in Key Largo, FL

NEW: The Grand Lodge’s website: https://osiaflorida.org/

Meeting Set Up/Clean Up Committee:

We need all the members attending a meeting to help set up before the meeting and clean up after the meeting. 


If you have a charity that you would like supported by Buona Fortuna, please contact the charity chairperson, John Mirra.

Lodge Committees

The current list of committees is located on the Buona Fortuna Officers page on our website. Here is the link: 


Buona Fortuna needs your participation. If you would like to join a committee, please contact President Hardy.

September Dates For Upcoming Events:

You can also visit our website calendar for all the year’s events at https://soibuonafortuna.org/home/buona-fortuna-calendar/

Dining Out With Giovanni 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019, at 6 PM, La Trattoria, 2256 East Olive Rd., Pensacola, Fl 32514
Please RSVP Giovanni to attend: john.mirra@att.net

Festa Planning Meeting

Sunday, September 22, 2019, 2 PM at Ginny Barberi’s home located at 5853 Westshore Drive, Pensacola, FL 32526

Seafood Festival

Seville Square Park, Seville Square Pensacola, FL 32502 September 27, 28 and 29. Time: Fri. 11 a.m. -11 p.m.  Sat. 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sun. 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM.

Lodge News

Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana is a celebration of all things Italian. Food favorites include shrimp scampi, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and tiramisu. Italian entertainment, prize drawings, and a silent auction are all part of the two-day event. Visitors are also able to find out about their Italian heritage and purchase Italian souvenirs. Don’t miss it: October 18 and 19.

One of the major fundraising items associated with the Festa Italiana is the sale of raffle tickets.  This year 1st prize is $1000, second is $500 and third prize is $250, all cash prizes.  Three chances to win with one ticket!


At our general membership meeting, I will be passing out raffle tickets to each member that has not already picked them up. We request your support to help market the raffle tickets in a spirit of cooperation and fraternalism. Your participation will be very much appreciated by not only Buona Fortuna Lodge #2835 but also by the charitable organizations, events, and scholarships the lodge supports.


You have the option of purchasing, selling or returning your tickets. The cost is one ticket for $5, 3 tickets for $10 or a full book of 8 tickets for $20. Make all checks payable to Buona Fortuna and bring them to a meeting or mail to:

Patricia Russo, c/o Professional Hearing Aid Center
115 North Palafox Street
Pensacola, Florida 32502

You may call 850-438-4092 to drop off funds & ticket stubs, pick up flyers or posters or obtain additional raffle tickets.

Raffle Team Leader, Patricia Russo.


Communities Caring at Christmas 2,000.
Garibaldi Meucci Museum 1,000.
Waterfront Mission 750.
Covenant Care 500.
Manna Food Pantry 500.
Feeding the Gulf Coast 500.
Beyond Backpacks 750.
Friends of the Disabled 500.
Gulf Coast Kid’s House 1,000.
West FL Soccer 1,000.
M.A.D.D. 500.
Total $9,000

Delegate Patti Russo with Ken MacLean attended the OSDIA National Convention in San Antonio, TX in August.

Our Italian American Heritage



The Lost Platoon of World War II

“The hilly township of Ameglia in Italy played a major yet mostly forgotten role during WWII. Swept under the blanket of ‘security’ for many years, the heart-breaking story of 15 brave Italian-American heroes has recently been discovered.”

A secret mission for the 15 Italian-American commandos in the 2677th Special Reconnaissance Battalion OSS, was to seal the railroad tunnel on a segment of the Genoa-La Spezia rail line. Bomber missions had failed to secure this mission so it was up to the commando unit to sabotage the tunnel which would affect the German forces occupying central Italy. The operation was code-named Ginny. The 15 Italian-American soldiers were chosen because the Army thought they spoke Italian. Ironically, only a few of them spoke Italian well and the others very little.

On February 27, 1944, the commandos departed Bastia Harbor in Corsica on two Navy PT Boats. Their landing site was the coast of Liguria in northwest Italy, roughly 170 miles from Corsica. Even with the speed attributed to PT Boats, the journey was long, plus the raid was delayed several times to avoid enemy vessels. At 1:25 a.m.on the 28th, the boats arrived at their destination.t

Using rubber boats, the commandos paddled to shore, while dressed in their military uniforms to avoid being shot as spies. Once ashore, First Lt. Vincent Russo sensed something was wrong. He heard a train to the northeast and realized the team had landed too far south of their objective. To achieve their goal, the American team would have to spend the night ashore after attacking the tunnel.

The senior officer in charge nixed the idea due to German patrols, both on land and sea. He ordered the commando team to return to the PT Boats. They did so and returned to Bastia Harbor later that morning. A second mission was planned for March.

On March 22, 1944, the Italian-Americans arrived at their objective. Using three rubber boats, they went ashore. Lt. Russo took three men on a reconnaissance patrol while the other men guarded the boats and explosives. The targeted railway tunnels were about 1.5 miles west of their position.

A series of misfortunes took place:  they lost radio contact, one PT boat left the area after detecting German ships and the other developed mechanical problems. The repairs were completed by dawn, too late and too dangerous to pick-up the patrol team. The pick-up was delayed until the next night.

Once together the commandos spent the day in hiding. That night they found an abandoned stable and took shelter. A young farmer, Franco Lagaxo, lived nearby and discovered the American soldiers. He provided them with food and led them to the target of their mission.  A new team of PT Boats attempted a rescue attempt, but no contact was made, and the boats returned to Corsica.

On March 24, a fisherman noticed the partially-concealed rubber boats and notifies the authorities. The young farmer attempted to warn the commandos but was too late. After a brief skirmish with Italian and German soldiers, the Italian-Americans were captured and taken to the German HQ in La Spezia for interrogation. The next morning information on the captured U.S. soldiers was sent to General Anton Dostler at the 75th German Army Corps HQ. Dostler conveyed the information to General Albert Kesselring, Field Marshall and Commanding General of the German forces in Italy.

In accordance with Adolph Hitler’s 1942 Commando Order:
All Allied commandos captured behind German lines were to be executed, even if properly attired in military uniforms. Kesselring ordered the Italian-American commandos to be executed, even though, Hitler’s order and Kesselring’s compliance was in direct violation of the Geneva Convention.

Fate intervened when an aide to General Dostler, Alexander zu Dohna-Scholbitten, refused to sign the execution order because he knew it was a violation of Geneva rules and regulations. Dohna-Scholbitten was dismissed from the German Army for insubordination. General Dostler signed the execution order. Still, German officers of the 135th Fortress Brigade argued with Dostler for a stay of execution. Dostler refused and ordered the executions to be carried out the next day. Again, German officers of the 135th tried to stop the executions, many by telephone, but to no avail.

All 15 Italian-American commandos, with their hands tied behind their backs and still wearing U.S. Army uniforms, were marched up to the top of the rocky Ameglia peninsula. Executed on the spot, the G.I.s were buried in a mass grave that was then camouflaged to cover up their war crimes. All records ordering the executions were destroyed as part of the cover-up.

The next day, an impromptu soccer game took place in the town’s piazza between local boys and off-duty German soldiers. The Italians won the match. Perhaps in retaliation, the German soldiers bragged about the capture of the American G.I.s — “Kaputt” was the word they used — and pointed towards the woods of Punta Bianca. The boys understood the meaning and reported the incident to the parish priest. He and several other priests were part of an undercover network that secretly informed the Americans about German military intelligence. Had it not been for the spontaneous soccer match and priests with principles, the unlawful fate of the commandos would have been lost to history.

In a cruel twist of irony, a stay of execution from the German command arrived too late to save the Americans. Once under Allied control, the mass grave was found and the bodies disinterred. Still dressed in their uniforms, postmortem examinations revealed two of the 15 had been shot in the back of their heads, some others were most likely murdered with shovels, and a few had been buried alive. Records and postmortem reports vary, but the horrible deed had been documented.

After the war, Field Marshal Kesselring denied any involvement with the executions and escaped punishment. General Dostler, however, was put on trial and sentenced to death. His defense, as with the German hierarchy during the Nuremberg Trials, was “I was only following orders.” His sentencing set the standard for all convicted who claimed ” one was just following orders” was not sufficient to escape punishment. Dostler was executed by hanging on December 1, 1945.

There exists a memorial plaque at Punta Bianca; another one in the Piazza della Liberta in Ameglia, and a carved rock memorial at the site of the mass grave. Fifteen brave men, who asked nothing of their adopted country, gave their all in its defense. If it were not for the memorials in Italy, stories like this would be forgotten.

Source: Rockdale, Newton Citizen

FYI: After the feature below appeared in the August Newsletter, Buona Fortuna Member, Andy Fricano, told me he played on the team at one time.

The Brooklyn Italians

Buona Fortuna 2835 Lodge Officers

President Brooke Hardy

Immediate Past President Joyce Russo Bollenbacher

Vice President Patricia Russo

Orator Eric Frulla

Recording Secretary Barbara Ferg

Corresponding Secretary Jovina Coughlin

Financial Secretary Thomas Bollenbacher

Treasurer Lucy Smith


Ginny Barberi, Nancy Colalillo, Joseph Del Signore, Al Hargis, Tami Pecora, Mary Resedean

Guard Shirley Cotita

Mistress of Ceremonies Dawn Wilson

Master of Ceremonies Andy Fricano

Past Presidents Gene Valentino, Mark De Nunzio, Pete Resedean

Herald  Tod Wilson

Public Relations/Webmaster/Newsletter Editor: Jovina Coughlin

Lodge Chaplain  Giovanni Mirra

Lodge Photographers: Al Lombardi/Shirley Cotita

State & National Officers

State Trustee-Region 1 Lucy Smith
State Deputy Bill Smith
Grand Lodge Orator and National Foundation Trustee Mark DeNunzio
Arbitration Commissioners

Joyce Bollenbacher, Peter Colalillo, Mark De Nunzio, Barbara Ferg, Tod Wilson

 Alternate Commissioners
1.  Anne Hargis, 2. Paul Pecora, 3. Dawn Wilson, 4. Lucy Smith

Lodge Contact Information:

Sons & Daughters of Italy in America – Buona Fortuna Lodge #2835. P.O. Box 12351, Pensacola, FL 32591

Webmaster/Editor – Jovina Coughlin – jovinacoughlin@gmail.com

Website Address: https://soibuonafortuna.org/

Buona Fortuna Email System

Our email address is buona-fortuna@googlegroups.com

Visit Us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/sonsofitalybuonafortuna 

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/BuonaFortunaSon

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/buona.f/


Remember Those Who Are Ill

  • Rita Somma
  • Vera Fricano
  • Larry Fordham


Joyce Bollenbacher
Maya Ford
Terry Franzone
Carol Groves
Mary Johnson
Jeanmarie Lupkowski
Ken Maclean
Marsha Mirra
Martha Nash
Paul Pecora
Rita Somma

Italian Cookbook For Sale

Preserving Our Italian Heritage. Cost per book $15.00. Great gift for Birthdays, Weddings, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Christmas. 

Grand Lodge 2018 Calendar For Sale

Calendars are available to purchase the program is part of the Cash Three-Evening Florida Lottery Program. Prizes range from $100.00 to Special Holiday prizes for up to $1000.00.  You may purchase a calendar at the General Membership Meeting. Checks should be made out to the Grand Lodge of Florida for $25.

Newsletter Article Deadline

The newsletter is published monthly on the first day of the month. The deadline to submit information is the 30th of the previous month. Submit all information to Editor:  jovinacoughlin@gmail.com

Newsletter Ads

Members’ Personal Ads for Selling Consumer Goods cost $3.00 per month. Business Ads cost $36.00 for 12 months and are payable each January. Email a copy of your business card information or your personal ad information and a photo of the item you are selling to jovinacoughlin@gmail.com. Please make the check payable to Buona Fortuna Lodge and mail it to Buona Fortuna Lodge #2835. P.O. Box 12351, Pensacola, FL 32591.

Community Business Ads








The Drowsy Poet Coffee Company


“Best Cup of Coffee on the Coast!”

86 Brent Ln, Pensacola, Florida 32503

  (850) 696-2887