George Lazzareschi Jr. recently rewrote another chapter in the town of Johnston’s tradition-rich history book.
Lazzareschi, who is well known in the grueling world of powerlifting and prides himself in helping nonprofits with special missions, became the first-ever Johnstonian elected to the prestigious position of Italo-America Club of Rhode Island president.
“George has always been a great guy and resident,” Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said. “We are proud of his many, many great accomplishments.”
Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon, who was invited to the recent Installation of Officers by the Italo-American Club’s Board of Directors, added: “I want to congratulate George on his important election, and as his many friends have done, I applaud him for his wonderful work with charities such as A Wish Come True.”
U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline, before giving Lazzareschi the oath of office, said: “It is with both personal pride and honor that I install George Lazzareschi Jr. as president of our great Italo-American Club of Rhode Island.”
“George may be well known far and wide for his power lifting accomplishments, but the only thing larger than his muscles are his wide smile and huge heart,” added club member and Providence Finance Director Lawrence J. Mancini, who emceed the event.
Mancini was speaking about Lazzareschi’s fundraising efforts for The Dog House Powerlifting Organization’s Children’s Charities, which has long benefited from his storied efforts and programs.
Lazzareschi, who is also known as “The Big Dog,” enjoys giving back to the community and has been instrumental in providing for Make-A-Wish, the highly acclaimed nonprofit that makes dreams a reality for many children suffering from disabilities and life-threatening illnesses.
Mancini said “The Big Dog” recently held an event for a 15-year-old disabled boy who was in need of a service dog. The powerlifting fundraiser hauled in $2,625.
In all, the Lazzareschi-led Dog House Powerlifting Children’s Charities have held six other special and highly successful fundraisers.
Lazzareschi was born and raised on America Street in the Federal Hill section of Providence in the heart of the capital city, which is only a stone’s throw from the Italo-American Club located on Broadway.
George went to Mount Pleasant High School and was a gifted and talented player for the Kilties’ one-time powerhouse football team.
“Unfortunately,” as Mancini told an attentive audience, “a serious knee injury cut his collegiate career short. Yet, George went on to become a five-time world powerlifting champion who now trains other men and woman who have also won championships in that always-demanding sport.”
Professionally, Lazzareschi has worked for the city of Providence and is the longtime superintendent of public safety, with his overall responsibility covering police and fire vehicles and their operational and safety compliance.
Now, he’s really “The Big Dog” for the largest Italian-American organization in the country, one that he vows to move forward by increasing membership, promoting the club’s restaurant Maria’s Cucina and maintaining one of Providence’s most historic buildings.
“I’m honored and humbled to serve as your president,” Lazzareschi concluded with his mother Irene, wife Lori, son Sloan and his wife Arnilez looking on. “Together, we’ll continue to our Italian-American heritage and our club’s history.”