Oneida County History Center
The Oneida County Historical Hall of Fame, begun in 1946, named five individuals to its 2018 Historical Hall of Fame inductee class: Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese, Utica Public Library Director Alice Cynthia Dodge, educator Anthony Schepsis, Clinton Hockey trailblazer Edward Stanley, and Utica sports editor and enthusiast Len Wilbur. The Hall of Famers were inducted alongside the 2018 Richard W. Couper ‘Living Legends’ class: Oneida County Historian Joseph P. Bottini, US Navy veteran and community advocate Edward Jackson, Reverend Joseph A. Salerno, and animal rights activist Anita Vitullo. Biographies for each inductee are below.
This 2018 inductees are recognized for their service as community leaders and advocates, and for their efforts in furthering the region's industries, culture, and educational opportunities. All inductees were honored at the History Center's annual Historical Hall of Fame and Living Legends Awards Banquet, held at the Hart's Hill Inn on Wednesday, October 3, 2018.
2019 Telethon Raises $29,326!
2018 Richard W. Couper Living Legends Inductees
Joseph P. Bottini (Sauquoit)
Oneida County Historian Joe Bottini is a retired schoolteacher with 35 years of professional service at local schools including Kemble School in Utica and Perry Junior High in New Hartford. A native of Rome, NY, Joe is a graduate of Rome Free Academy and Utica College, and completed graduated studies at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Joe is an accomplished writer and has co-authored multiple books including Utica: Then & Now, Legendary Locals, and Oneida County: An Illustrated History. He also served as a researcher and writer for the Bagg's Square Mural Project, which culminated in the installation of a history timeline along Utica’s Bagg's Square Corridor in 2016. He writes local history articles for the Greater Utica Magazine and guest editorials for the Utica Observer Dispatch. His passion for local history extends beyond writing; he shares his enthusiasm through lectures and tours at local venues including ‘Walk & Talks’ for the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica. Joe is a proud veteran of the United States Army and a committed Child of God in Christ who plays flute at his local church.
Edward Jackson (Utica)
Ed Jackson, a United States Navy veteran with twenty years of service, is a leading advocate for progress and change in the greater Utica community. He moved to Utica in 1984 and has been involved with a wide range of organizations. Ed started to work with scouting in 1970 and is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award and the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, the organization’s highest honors. He was a founding member of the Cornhill Community for Change and has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including the Utica Youth Bureau and the Utica Citizens in Action steering committee. Ed is well-known for his presentations on behalf of the NAACP in area schools and community centers and is a frequent contributor to public discourse via letters to the editor in the Utica Observer-Dispatch. He is a proud member of the American Legion and served three terms as the Harold Provost Post Commander. No better example of a community enthusiast, servant, and supporter exists.
Rev. Joseph A. Salerno (Utica)
Utica native Rev. Joseph Salerno has served the community as a Catholic priest for 32 years. He is presently the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica and Our Lady of the Rosary in New Hartford. He also serves as chaplain to both the Utica Police Department and the Utica Fire Department. As a youth, he was educated locally and claims Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Parish as the Catholic parish of his beginnings. Fr. Joe earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Maryknoll College and a Master of Divinity from St. Michael’s College in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He served on numerous boards throughout his career including Hope House and St. Joseph’s Nursing Home. Outside of Oneida County, Rev. Salerno has worked on various assignments in the Diocese of Syracuse. His commitment to community and his faith is outstanding.
Anita Vitullo (Clinton)
Clinton resident Anita Vitullo is the founder and president of Staffworks and is the first living individual to donate $1 million to The Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties. Stafforworks’ goal is to create success stories by connecting the right people with businesses, but the company goes beyond employment solutions and is dedicated to making our communities stronger. Both Anita and Staffworks are strong advocates for animal rights. Personally, Anita has donated time, money and other resources to shelters, adoptive agencies, and humane societies throughout the region. Sponsoring the Humane Society of Rome’s annual “Save a Life” campaign is one of her many contributions. She also implemented the Staffworks Charitable Fund in 2006, which is a donor-advised fund of The Community Foundation that supports programs and services related to domestic animal welfare and owner responsibility. The fund has awarded almost $1.4 million in grants to community organizations since 2009. The fund exceeded the $10 million mark in June 2018, and is the first Community Foundation $10 million fund with a living fund holder. Anita’s generosity is exemplar and unrivaled in Utica the greater Mohawk Valley.
hall of fame & living legends class of 2018
Platinum, Gold, & Silver Sponsors
The Oneida County History Center raised over $29 ,000 during its 14th annual telethon held on Thursday, March 21 from 6:30-8:00 pm. The telethon, hosted by Joe Kelly and Sharry Whitney (Mohawk Valley Living), was broadcast live on WUTR-TV from the History Center’s main gallery and encouraged community members and organizations to call in and pledge; $29,326.00 in new memberships, membership renewals, and donations were received. Thank you to the many individuals and organizations who showed their support.
This special event is one of the History Center’s largest annual fundraisers and is used to support our ongoing efforts to promote and preserve the history of the greater Mohawk Valley. The investment made by the community is vital to the organization and serves to support educational opportunities for students of all ages, free public programs, exhibits, collections maintenance, and much more.
The first 40 callers who pledged $40 or more are eligible to receive a limited-edition Oneida County History Center water bottle. Thanks to Oneida County Tourism for sponsoring this special incentive. Winners will be contacted within the next week and will have 60 days to pick up their bottles at the History Center, located at 1608 Genesee Street.
Several organizations, businesses, and individuals were recognized during the broadcast as part of the ‘Historical Star’ board and special check presentations. The History Center staff, volunteers, and board of trustees would like to extend a special thanks our Platinum, Gold, Sliver, and In Kind sponsors.
Adirondack Financial Services; Bank of Utica; Chris & Virginia Kelly; Northwestern Mutual Utica; Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig; Staffworks Inc.
Caruso McLean Investment Advisors; The Melva Max Family; Richard Williams; UFA Alumni Association
Leigh Baldwin, LLC
In Kind Sponsors
Northland Communications; Oneida County Tourism; Saranac Brewery;
Symeon’s Greek Restauran; WUTR