Herrin – HerrinFesta Italiana announces their selections for Festa Honorees for 2015. Three individuals or companies are chosen each year. HerrinFesta Italiana was launched in 1991 and celebrates their 25th anniversary May 18-25 over Memorial Day weekend.
Grand Parade Marshal is Marilyn Berra Phillips, owner of Burger Nook in Herrin. After a multi –faceted business career spanning 45 years, she purchased the restaurant in 2008. She was a longtime director of events and entertainment at the DuQuoin State Fair and the founder of the Southern Illinois Folk Festival and President of Southern Illinois Arts and Crafts. She was the first full time employee of Dip and Dots as customer service director. She travelled though all 50 states in America and in Europe. She was the first woman to serve on the International Country Music Buyers Association, a longtime employee of Southern Illinois Incorporated and a member of the Southern Illinois Tourism Council. She was a community activist when she lived in Murphysboro and continues community work in Herrin. She has two daughters, 3 grandsons and 5 great grandchildren.
Lifetime Achievement award recipient is Raymond Serati, Springfield. He is a Herrin native and 1955 graduate of Herrin High School. He is a 1959 graduate of Southern Illinois University and was named “Outstanding Journalism Graduate.” For many years he worked in the Illinois Capitol Press Corps covering all facets of state government and politics. He won the Bell Ringer Award in a Copley News Writing Contest and was recognized for his coverage of the birth of the Fisher quintuplets in South Dakota while working for United Press International.
Ray and his wife, Margaret, have three children and five grandchildren. He has retired from the newspaper and public relations business and enjoys fishing, reading, collecting books on southern Illinois, and following SIU football, basketball, and baseball. He serves on the Board of Directors and is a lifetime member of the SIU Alumni Association.
Corporate Honoree is Monchino Management, LLC, Mike Monchino, Principal, located in Herrin. The company specializes in hotel operations including, marketing, sales, accounting, finance, human resources, and maintenance, purchasing, training, food/beverage and development/capital improvements with more than thirty years of successful experience in the hospitality industry. Monchino has managed hotels of 350 plus rooms and participated in the construction and opening of more than 85 new hotels throughout the United States.
He has had ownership in many hotel properties, and currently has ownership in seven hotels. He holds a B.A. Degree in Administration and an MBA in Management. He has served on the Board of Directors at The Herrin Civic Center and is an officer at The Herrin Chamber. Mike and his wife, Donna, reside in Herrin and have three children.
The trio will be honored at the Annual HerrinFesta Honoree Dinner, Tuesday, May 19 at the Herrin Elks Club and throughout the festival.
The festival is a fundraising arm under the umbrella of The Herrin Chamber of Commerce. Festa President, Cris Trapani, says of the honorees, “We are always happy to make these annual selections to honor members of our community, who either live here at home or throughout the United States. They bring pride to our town and all of southern Illinois.”
Officers of the HerrinFesta Committee are Cris Trapani, president, Joey Helleny, vice-president, Kelly Green, secretary-treasurer, Brett Crouse, sponsor and piazza chair, committeemen, Jack Garner, Kevin Frost, Joe Helleny, Evan Youngblood, Trustees, Frank King and Cheryl Ranchino Trench, executive secretary, Terri Thompson.