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Joe Dalleva Named Plains Man of the Year

Retired Stop & Shop produce manager Joseph Dalleva was named this year's "Man of the Year" at the 36th Annual Plains Association Reunion dinner, held on October 1 at the Italian-American Veterans Post. "I want to thank you all for nominating me," he said after being recognized.

The Plains Association members celebrate their life growing up in the area of Milford below the former railroad tracks – now the Upper Charles River Trail – on the streets along Main St. and East Main St. (Rt. 16) and along Medway Rd. (Rt. 109). The area was primarily settled by Italian-Americans from the 1890s through World War II.

"I've lived a somewhat quiet life," Dalleva told the Town Crier following the reunion. He worked for Stop & Shop for 44 years, is a member of the Italian-American Veterans club, and is a member of the "No Name Club" – a group of about a dozen friends who gather for breakfast each month.

Guest speaker Julie Rizoli Richards reminisced about her father, the late Louis "Burke" Rizoli, who ran the former Plains Pharmacy at 99 East Main St. for 43 years. Today, a walkway along the side of 99 East Main St. bears the name "Louis Burke Rizoli" in his honor. His 99 year-old widow, Blanche Rizoli also was present.

There were three places to go in the Plains: Johnny Jack's Café and Bar Room to drink, the Hearts of Ben Club to gamble and the Plains Pharmacy to discuss politics, Louis Bertonazzi, Plains Association president, said. "He was the political center of this area," he said.

Julie Richards described the origin of her father's nickname, "Burke" or "Burkie" as dating back to the name of his fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Burke, and his being accused of being the "Burke's pet" because he knew the Gettysburg Address. Richards listed the various politicians – a senator, a congressman, governors and an attorney general – who stopped by to visit her father. "He was probably the greatest campaign manager you'd ever want to have," she said. "He's proud of the impact he had on the Plains and of the impact the Plains had on him," Richards said.

Other speakers at the reunion included Selectman Michael Walsh, who currently lives in the Plains. "What makes Milford unique is us, the people who live here," he said. "Events like this bring together family and friends," said retired Judge Francis Larkin, whose paternal grandmother, Rose Turner, lived in the Plains.


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