If Anthony Ursillo were a baseball player, he’d be batting 1.000.
For the second time in as many tries, Ursillo organized a successful event last Thursday evening at the Johnston Historical Society’s properties at 101 Putnam Pike (Route 101) in Johnston.
His first success story came last September when he organized a Historical Society fundraiser that featured everything from people in vintage clothing to cars. Then, about eight months ago, Ursillo came up with an idea that grew into a partnership with the North Central Chamber of Commerce.
He suggested that the Society join the chamber, seeing as how both organizations are so community oriented. Society President Louis McGowan and Vice President Dan Brown were on board and ever since, the relationship has blossomed.
Shortly thereafter, Ursillo began to organize one of the Chamber’s Business After Hours meetings.
“I dove in with both feet,” said Ursillo, who is a member of the JHS and NCCC board of directors. “I enjoy doing things like this, especially when it brings so many people together.”
The fair weather helped, and Ursillo was thrilled to see a good turnout to the event.
“Everyone is smiling ... they’re so upbeat ... they seem happy to be part of such a great event,” he said.
Brown too was pleased that the Historical Society was co-hosting the event and getting their name out there.
“What a great turnout ... it reminds me of an old-fashioned late afternoon backyard cocktail party,” he said.
The impact of the After Hours was more than just a party, however.
“The main purpose of this was to bring the two organizations together to meet and greet new people, form new friendships, exchange ideas, network, socialize and link all with the community as a whole,” Ursillo said. “It was a shining example of businesses supporting the community and community supporting businesses.”
Ursillo arranged for businesses from three communities to supply everything from floral centerpieces to finger sandwiches and various other foods.
“The food is fantastic,” said Rick Medeiros, the director of security for the Pawtucket Red Sox. “I’ve never been to a Business After Hours like this.”
Bel McGowan, wife of JHS President Louis McGowan, was one of the volunteers who made the event a success, as she made sandwiches in advance for the nearly 75 people who turned up.
Mary Ouellette, owner and head designer of Mother Nature’s Florists in Smithfield, donated a beautiful floral arrangement for the food table.
“It’s little touches like that that made this event so special,” Ursillo said. “And we had Rhode Island’s official soda, Yacht Club Soda of Centerdale, donated a variety of different flavors. They’ve been so generous through the years.”
Ursillo also thanked Taso’s Restaurant of Johnston, Mingh Hai Restaurant of Cranston, the new Cranston location of DiPetrillo’s Bakery, D. Palmieri’s Bakery of Johnston and Edible Arrangements for their “generous donations of different foods.”
“Giving back to the community is such a healthy and rewarding sense of accomplishment and I’m real happy with the way this turned out,” Ursillo said.
After networking and several speeches, guests were treated to an unexpected guest as well. Raymond Beausejour, a photographer from North Providence, rode out on his Boneshaker and put on several demonstrations and answered questions about the bike that was manufactured in Cleveland, Ohio from 1890 to 1916.