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Seneca Falls good citizen nominations being sought for Antonio Varacalli Day award

The Seneca Falls community is being asked to nominate a person to receive the Antonio Varacalli Award which will be given to a resident whom is perceived by their friends and neighbors to be a good citizen and hero to the community in which they live.

Antonio Varacalli, who lost his life while rescuing a young woman named Ruth Dunham from the Seneca Falls Barge Canal 105 years ago, is the namesake to the “Antonio Varacalli Day – Celebration of Heroes” event. 

Like so many other immigrants, Antonio Varacalli and his father Dominick, emigrated from Italy in the early 1900’s  intending to find work and save enough money to bring the rest of their family to Seneca Falls, NY.  His death certificate stated that he “drowned while attempting to rescue another person.” He was 22 years old.


Individuals are being asked to nominate a person they see as a hero to be awarded the Annual Antonio Varacalli Day Award. “Antonio is an example of how everyday regular people are good citizens by stepping up and selflessly helping others like Antonio did,” said Chris Podzuweit, a member of the It’s A Wonderful Life Committee, sponsor of the Antonio Varacalli Day – Celebration of Heroes event “Each year we ask the community to name a local hero, a good citizen, who in their eyes emulates Antonio Varacalli.” 

The day’s event will begin on the Bridge St. bridge at 11:00 a.m.  Saturday, April 23, near the site where Varacalli lost his life. In addition to presentation of the Antonio Varacalli Day Award, the winners of the Antonio Varacalli Day Essay Contest will be recognized.  The essay question presented to Elizabeth Cady Stanton students in grades 3, 4 & 5, asked them to write about an immigrant that they know or know of, who has contributed to America and/or their community, and how they might be considered a good citizen.

The Mynderse Chamber Singers under the direction of Anna Luisi-Ellis will perform, the Antonio Varacalli Day Proclamation will be read along with a brief history presentation, and the ringing of “The Bells of Bedford Falls”.  A flower ceremony will end the program.   


Individuals wishing to nominate a hero can pick up a nomination form at the Seneca Falls Historical Society – 55 Cayuga St., Downtown Deli – 53 Fall Street, WomanMade Products – 91 Fall Street or download a pdf from online here.  All nominations must be received by Wednesday, April 7, 2022

For more information on the Celebration contact [email protected].



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