By John Lynds
The corner of Bennington and Wally Streets has long been the historic start of the Columbus Day Parade in East Boston. So it was fitting last Thursday that the triangular island at the intersection was named after the man that organized the biannual parade for the past 25 years.
Mayor Martin Walsh joined more than a hundred East Bostonians that included community leader Joseph Ruggiero, elected officials, Rep. Adrian Madaro, Sen. Joseph Boncore and City Councilor Sal LaMattina, as well as friends and family to officially dedicate the small park as the Albert ‘Buddy’ Mangini Square.
“When you think of our communities and who we are as a society and what makes neighborhoods like East Boston great are people like Buddy Mangini,” said Mayor Walsh. “For me personally being here means a lot. Four years ago I came over to East Boston and I met young Joe Ruggiero and he introduced me to his father, (Joseph Ruggiero) when I was a candidate for Mayor of Boston. I didn’t have a base of support in the neighborhood yet. When I met Joseph, there was a man to his left and for the next nine months anytime I came to East Boston that man was by my side. He wasn’t asking for anything but he got involved with a kid from Dorchester and introduced me to people that became great friends. There are people that impact you that you will never forget and one of those people for me is Buddy Mangini. There are some people that say they are with you and work on your campaign and then disappear and then there are people like Buddy that you build a lifelong relationship and never want anything in return. He taught me that it is always about community, it’s always about giving back and being there for other people. What makes our neighborhoods and the country great isn’t necessarily the presidents or the elected officials its the people that do the work in the community everyday. It’s people like Buddy.”
Walsh said he has committed to funding grass, benches and other amenities to make the small island a more welcoming place to sit and reflect on Mangini’s achievements.
Rep. Madaro said Mangini has been someone that has inspired him to be a better community leader.
“I’m 28 years old and I’m just starting my career as an elected official in East Boston,” said Madaro. “But if I’m able to accomplish one fraction of what Buddy Mangini has done in this neighborhood I’ll know I left my mark in East Boston. Buddy you are an incredible man, the Chamber, the Kiwanis you name it you have been involved. You have never never said no and we are a better community because of your service.”
City Councilor Sal LaMattina added that, “Every single day you (Mangini) have worked on behalf of this neighborhood and for that I am grateful; for that I love you; for that East Boston is a better place because of the work you do.”
Salesian Boys & Girls Club Director Father John Nazzaro, who has collaborated with Mangini over the years on community events like the Bike Rodeo Day, said he was thankful to be able to give tribute and respect to such a deserving man.
“Years from now people will see the Albert ‘Buddy’ Mangini sign and park and ask, “Who was Buddy Mangini?” said Nazzaro. “The answer is a humble man, a good man, a man that would do anything for anyone, a man who is loved for not what he does but who he is, a man who has made East Boston a place where young people can thrive and grow and take his place someday. Many years from now this park will be a beacon in our community and a testimony to Buddy’s years of service to our community, a man we see as a person to follow.”