Anthony (Tony) DeQuattro will serve as the Gaspee Days 2023 Parade Mace Bearer. Tony DeQuattro, a native of Johnston, the founder and President of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island will carry the …
Anthony (Tony) DeQuattro will serve as the Gaspee Days 2023 Parade Mace Bearer. Tony DeQuattro, a native of Johnston, the founder and President of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island will carry the historical Rhode Island Mace down the parade route on Saturday, June 10th beginning at 10 a.m.
In a release the Gaspee Days Committee said it selected Tony “because of his dedication and commitment in recognizing veterans and all they have offered our county. With the Gaspee Days Committee motto “First Blow for Freedom” it is important to recognize our veterans as they continue to preserve the freedom that we celebrate for 251 years.”
Tony DeQuattro, a native of Johnston, is the founder and President of Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI). Formed in 1993, with a mission to provide homeless and at-risk veterans a “hand-up not a hand-out,” OSDRI has grown to become the State’s largest non-profit provider of supportive services for veterans. Headquartered in Johnston, OSDRI serves thousands of Rhode Island veterans each year with housing, employment, legal, benefit and basic human needs assistance.
Tony, who served in the United State Marines, is one of the most recognizable veteran advocates in the State. His leadership in 2001 lead to the construction of the State’s first permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans. In 2010 Tony oversaw the completion of the Lance Corporal Holly Charrette Home, Rhode Island’s first and only transitional housing for homeless female veterans.
Tony also was President of the Washington Park Citizens Association in Providence, opened the Washington Park Community Center and the Washington Park Children’s Shelter, the first of its kind in the State of Rhode Island.
Over the years, Tony has served on numerous veteran advisory boards including those of Senator Jack Reed and Congressman Patrick Kennedy. He is a past State Commander and State Adjutant of the American Legion. The Myra Kraft Foundation recognized Tony in 2013 as a Community MVP. In 2017, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Italian American Hall of Fame.
The Rhode Island Mace has been carried at the head of the Gaspee Days Parade every year since the first observance of Gaspee Days in June 1966. The Mace has been used in the Inaugural ceremonies for Rhode Island Governors by the High Sheriff of Providence County since Governor Charles D. Kimball was sworn in on January 7, 1902.
The Mace, made of historic fragments of wood, is closely associated with the historical backgrounds of the state and the nation. The eagle on the top of the mace was carried through the Civil War on top of a staff which wore a Union battle flag. Part of the wood was once taken from the much-hated British revenue schooner H.M.S. Gaspee which was burned after being caught on a sand bar off Gaspee Point on the evening of June 9, 1772. Another portion of the wood came from colonial Governor Arthur Fenner's homestead in Cranston, which was built in 1680 and demolished in 1895.
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