“The Johnston Jewel,” as Mayor Joseph Polisena often calls War Memorial Park, has a new and heart-warming addition.
The marvelous monument that countless residents will enjoy is named in honor of a wonderful wife, mother and matriarch who, as Polisena proclaimed during Saturday’s emotional dedication ceremony, “lived for her family and was the rock that they could all lean on.”
With members of the Johnston Town Council, Police Chief Joseph P. Razza, Fire Chief Peter Lamb, Parks and Recreation Director Chris Correia and a host of family and friends looking on, Polisena announced that the new pedestrian walkway will forever be known as the Nina Vinagro Memorial Bridge.
“In my heart, I truly believe that Nina is watching down over us all here today,” Polisena offered. “Humble as she was, she is probably saying this was not necessary.”
Even Joe Vinagro Jr., who Polisena asked if it would be OK to name the bridge in honor of his mother, told the mayor “that’s not necessary, but it would be very nice.”
However, as Polisena wanted it known: “This was absolutely necessary, Nina, for the great family you raised, teaching them to be outstanding individuals and well-rounded members of a very special family. It is an honor for all of us here today and the residents of Johnston to say thank you so very much for being part of our community.”
As Polisena announced, even the late Nina Vinagro’s children, Lisa, Sheri and Joe Jr., “were not looking for any accolades at all. But for me, that was not acceptable; I knew in my heart we had to thank the Vinagro family in a big way.”
The mayor’s son, Town Council Vice President Joseph Polisena Jr., suggested to his father that “we name the bridge after the Vinagro family or family member – perhaps Joe, Sheri, Lisa or their mother or Joe Sr.”
As the mayor added with enthusiasm ringing in his voice: “It all then clicked and sounded perfect, especially since he emphasized the entire Vinagro are why we are here today, because they are most generous corporate citizens in this town.”
Polisena then added: “Whenever the residents of our great town – especially the youth – need anything, the Vinagro family and their company is there with hesitation; there is never, ever a question of the word no.”
He continued: “Fast-forward to today as we unveil the new memorial park pedestrian foot bridge in honor and in memory of Mrs. Nina Vinagro.” He noted that the bridge was designed and built on the Vinagro property at 2208 Plainfield Pike in Johnston.
Perhaps the story of how the new bridge, which was sorely needed, came into being is as unique as the materials used for the mighty memorial that even has a light atop the wooden structure and features a bronze plaque that reads: “This bridge is dedicated in loving memory of Nina Vinagro – always in our hearts and never forgotten.”
As Joe Vinagro Jr. explained, “this bridge was built out of recycled and repurpose steel we had at our facility.” The old bridge was removed and the new one trucked in and installed in just two days.
“That’s absolutely amazing,” Polisena said. “Now, the residents of can enjoy this beautiful park and new bridge crossing over it without any fears of public safety. That’s all thanks to the Vinagro family – the most generous corporate family in Johnston.”