Mayor Gary Bartolotti of Christopher will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at HerrinFesta Italiana May 22 at the annual Mayor’s Dinner to kick-off Festa 2008 in and around The Herrin Civic Center.
The mayor became involved in city government because he believed he could make a difference in improving the City of Christopher. In 1983 he was first elected to the Christopher City Council. In 1985 he became the youngest Mayor ever elected in the City of Christopher. He served a four-year term and in 1991 he was again elected to the Christopher City Council. In 1993 he was again elected at Mayor of Christopher and has held that post to the present time.
He spent most of his working career as a coal miner with Old Ben Coal Company Mine #21 in Sesser. He served in the elective offices of Mine Committeeman, Chairman of the Mine Committee, Vice President and President of Local Union 11214 of United Mine Workers of America from 1973 to 1995.
In February 2000, Mayor Bartolotti was involved in a roof fall accident at Old Ben Coal Zeigler #11 mine and he suffered severe injuries. Those injuries ended his mining career.
He was born March 13, 1951 to Libero and Delphine Bartolotti in a rural area north of Valier known as “The Patch.” He has three brothers, Libero Jr., Richard and Robert. Their grandfather, John Bartolotti, came to American from Italy in 1913. He was 16 years old. He was born in Bologna, Italy. His grandmother, Tessie Rapini came to America around 1916 at the age of 16. Their two sons were Libero and Leno Bartolotti.
Mayor Bartolotti joined the U. S. Army in 1969 and served tours of duty in Germany and Turkey and held the rank of Sergeant in an infantry battalion. He was discharged in 1971.
His primary concern while serving the City of Christopher has been to upgrade the City water and sewer systems. Since 1985, Christopher has rebuilt 95% of the water system and consolidated departments and modernized every department in the City. He has helped increase manpower in the Police. Fire and Maintenance Departments.
He was instrumental in saving the Christopher Senior Citizens or when it was about to collapse. He considers one of his bigg4est achievements his ability to spearhead a movement to adopt Home Rule for the City of Christopher. He is proud of his record of making many improvements in Christopher while maintaining a sound financial position for the City. During his tenure he has been instrumental in acquiring many grants for improvement of the infrastructure of the City.
His efforts have gleaned numerous awards. In l989 and l990 he received the Christopher Chamber of Commerce Achievement Award. In l989 he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Christopher Fire Department. In l995 he was voted the Best Elected Official in Franklin County. In 2007 he was named the Christopher Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.
He is an active member of the Christopher Lions Club where he served as President and Fundraising Chairman. When asked about his hobbies, he said, “My main hobby is being Mayor of the City of Christopher.”
He married Kendra Ramsey in 2002. He has two grown children, Michael Bartolotti and Mindy Van Fossan, and two stepchildren, Kim Gilbert and Lesley Hacker. Between them, Kendra and Gary, have ten grandchildren.
Jim Gentile, Executive Director of HerrinFesta Italiana, said, “Mayor Bartolotti has devoted much of his life to the ongoing work of making Christopher a better place. He has brought pride and honor to the city he serves. He has made a difference in his community and in Franklin County.”