U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) proudly accepted the title of Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic when Italian Ambassador to the United States Claudio Bisogniero bestowed it on him Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) also received the title.
"It's with great pride that I accept this honor," said Congressman Tiberi. "I've worked to strengthen relationship between Italy and the United States and am humbled to receive this distinction for my public service."
Congressman Tiberi is the son of Italian immigrants. Many members of his family still live in Introdacqua, a town in the L'Aquila Province in the region of Abruzzo in Central Italy. They settled in Columbus to raise a family. Congressman Tiberi's mother was a seamstress and father was a machinist. Congressman Tiberi, the oldest of three children, was the first in his family to graduate high school. He worked his way through college and graduated with a degree in journalism from The Ohio State University.
"My parents always told me they came to this country for an opportunity, not a guarantee. They instilled in me and my sisters their Italian values of hard work, loyalty, and the love of family and friends."
Congressman Tiberi, along with Congressman Pascrell, is the Co-Chairman of the Italian-American Congressional Delegation and is actively involved with the National Italian American Foundation.
The Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy is the highest order of knighthood in Italy. It is awarded to those who have gained merit for Italy in the fields of literature, the arts, economics, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers. Congressman Tiberi was one of seven Americans to receive this distinction in 2012. While he was named a recipient in 2012, the official ceremony took place Wednesday, May 22, 2013.