Have you ever heard the saying “all roads lead to Rome”? This phrase refers to the road system of the Roman Empire in which Rome was positioned in the center with every road departing from it. In all, the Romans built 50,000 miles of hard-surfaced highway that spanned three continents.
The first of the great Roman roads, the Via Appia (Appian Way), was begun in 312 BCE and originally ran 162 miles southeast from Rome to Tarentum (now Taranto). It was later extended to the Adriatic coast at Brundisium (now Brindisi). You can still walk parts of the Via Appia today, making it over 2,300 years old!
Well, today I would like to tell you about one of the more recent roads built in Rome. It’s called “The Plumeri Way” and it leads to the heart our major program, La Città dei Ragazzi (Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy). It’s dedicated to one of our most generous and passionate donors, Mr. Joe Plumeri, and to his family.
“The Plumeri Way” sign stands tall among centenary trees on the campus of Boys’ Town and it is a reminder to all the boys who live there that “anything is possible in life, if you have passion and you play in traffic,” as Joe would say. That’s the Plumeri way!
About a year ago when I visited Joe at his office, he reiterated how important in his life it has been to “go for it” and to be engaged (“in traffic”) with people all the time. What struck me about that conversation was his contagious and tremendous passion for everything he does.
During that conversation, Joe told me that his father, Samuel J. Plumeri, Sr., worked very closely with our founder, Msgr. John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, to raise enough money to build the New Jersey Residence at La Città dei Ragazzi. To this day, if you visit Boys’ Town in Rome, you will see a plaque on that building commemorating the monumental effort of the Plumeri Family.
Joe continued in the footsteps of his father, becoming one of the most generous donors of A Chance In Life. He was honored as Man of the Year at our 2014 New York Gala, a record-breaking event for our organization. At our New York Gala last year, he was granted honorary citizenship by one of the former citizens of Girls’ Town, Ms. Sonila Sema.
Next time you travel to Rome, make sure you take the Plumeri Way to get to Boys’ Town. And if you are stuck in traffic, remember it’s an opportunity to engage with people, take risks, and to let your passion lead you.
As the old Romans would say … Joe Plumeri docet! (Joe Plumeri teaches us!)