Vinny D’Addio of La Grange Park Honors Best Friend’s Memory
Losing a best friend can be devastating at any age, but when you’re 9-years old, what do you do? Vinny D’Addio and Dominic Cairo were as close as friends could be and enjoyed riding their bikes together most of all. When Dominic passed away, Vinny wanted to find the most inspiring way he could to honor Dominic’s memory. He didn’t have to search far. Having the same love of riding bikes together at Stone-Monroe Park, Vinny began a fundraiser to help buy a bench for the park through the Community Park District’s Tree of Life/Bench Memorial Program.
The Tree of Life/Bench Memorial Program is a beautiful and personal way for a person’s memory to be honored, utilizing trees and benches to represent a loved one in one of the parks in La Grange Park. Vinny set up a bike marathon fundraiser to help offset the cost of the bench, which is generally close to $800. After gathering up his friends from the neighborhood, classmates and additional families from Odgen Avenue School, the bike marathon around Stone-Monroe Park began and Vinny’s dream started to come to life.
After quickly raising the funds necessary for the bench, Vinny took his money to the Community Park District where he happily made the most admirable purchase of his life. On August 24, 2011, the memorial bench was installed in Stone-Monroe Park. Both the D’Addio family and the Cairo family were present and assisted the park district staff in the installation. The final touch was the plaque on the bench which reads “His spirit lives on through the lives of his friends. Dominic Cairo, 2002-2011”. There is also a gold leaf with Dominic’s name engraved on it attached to the Tree of Life display at the Recreation Center, 1501 Barnsdale Rd.
Dominic’s mom, Anna Cairo, stated that she is “touched by the warm responses from family, friends and neighbors during this difficult time. Sitting on the bench, listening to the birds sing, watching the kids play and ride bikes, does show Dominic’s spirit is surely alive.”
Vinny D’Addio may have lost one of his closest friends, but Dominic will always be with him as he rides around Stone-Monroe Park. The bench is located in the north-west corner of the playground area, surrounded and protected by trees and fences. The location of the bench gives anyone who sits there a view of the whole park, which is where Dominic’s spirit lives on as he watches over his friends, family and the beauty of Stone-Monroe Park.