500 Christopher Columbus Boulevard
P.O. Box 1492, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
Brick Township, NJ - The Ocean County Columbus Day Parade Committee is proud to announce that Robert DiBiase has been chosen to serve as the Grand Marshal for this year’s Columbus Day Parade to be held on Sunday, October 12, 2014. This year marks the twenty-third edition of this popular event.
"Every year we are faced with the difficult task of selecting one person from the many deserving candidates to serve as the ceremonial leader of our Parade and Italian Festival," said Parade Chairman Michael Blandina. "After thoroughly reviewing and considering all the candidates, I am proud to say that we have chosen Robert DiBiase as the Grand Marshal for this year’s Twenty-third Annual Event. His community involvement, and especially his ties to the Italian community throughout the county and state, stand out among this year’s nominees," Blandina added.
Robert DiBiase was born on July 16, 1949, in Newark, NJ. He was raised among other Italian-American families in the close-knit community of North Newark, NJ. It is there where he developed a strong work ethic and a great affection for the traditions and the culinary treasures of his family and neighbors. Robert enlisted in the United States Army in 1967 and served full tours in Viet Nam, Germany and the States. He was recognized for his service with an award of the state’s highest military honor, the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal and the New Jersey Vietnam Service Medal.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Army, Robert went to work for Verizon, Inc., which was then known as New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. Within a ten-year span he worked through the ranks from a lineman to a splicer, and was elected as a union officer. Robert was then promoted into management and continued to move upward. By the time he retired early from Verizon in 2003, he had been promoted to Area Manager for Strategic Initiatives and was in charge of more than 173 employees.
Not being one to just sit around, Robert quickly set out to start a business that would showcase his love for all things Italian. He founded Entirely Italy, LLC, through which he imports Italian ceramics, gourmet foods, designer accessories, arts and crafts, perfumes and jewelry, and just about anything else that can be fashioned into a spectacular gift basket. Over the years Robert has donated specialty Italian baskets to organizations including the National Italian-American Foundation (NIAF) to be auctioned off for charitable purposes. Some of the baskets have raised more than $1,000 at auction.
Robert’s current community involvement includes a continuation of work from his days at Verizon, which included volunteering for the Telephone Pioneers to raise funds for charity, as well as the New Jersey Speakers Society. He is a longtime member of the Italian-American Culture Society of Ocean County. Robert was recently elected Chairman of the New Jersey Italian and Italian-American Heritage Commission by his fellow commissioners, after serving on the commission for just two years. He has served as the Toms River Resource Manager since just after Superstorm Sandy, and is also Toms River Township’s Assistant Director of Recreation.
Robert resides in Tom River with his wife of 37 years, Roberta. He is the proud father of daughter Adele who, along with her husband Rocco have given Robert and his wife three grand children and a fourth on the way.
"Robert DiBiase stood out among this year’s nominees because of the excellence he has achieved in his career and his lifelong service to his community, especially within the Italian Community," said Screening Committee Chairwoman Carol Tramutola. "We are confident that this extraordinary man will uphold the fine tradition established by his predecessors. I am looking forward to having Robert lead our Twenty-third Parade and serve as our representative this year."
Robert DiBiase’s selection as Grand Marshal will be celebrated at the Annual Grand Marshal Dinner Dance at the Crystal Point Yacht Club on Thursday, June 19, 2014. We will also present Millie Apprea with our service award. Millie Apprea is a Trustee of the committee. She is also Co-Chair of our Carrabba’s Italian Grill Benefit, held each year to support the Parade and Italian Festival. She works closely with the Chairman when it comes to the President’s Council. The President’s Council consists of Presidents or their representatives, of area Italian American Clubs. She also assists at the festival during the weekend each year. "Our annual Dinner Dance is traditionally the highlight of our pre-parade festivities," said Chairman Blandina. "I encourage anyone who wants to have a good time and honor these two fine individuals from Ocean County to attend this Dinner Dance."
Anyone interested in attending the Dinner Dance, placing an ad in the ad journal, sponsoring the event, joining the Parade Committee, or wishing any other information regarding this year’s Parade and Italian Festival and accompanying events, may contact Michael Blandina at 732-477-6507.