Let me introduce my new friend, Vince Raffeo….
Vincenzo Raffeo was born to immigrants from Sicily, Italy…they came to America through Philadelphia and settled in Norristown on 759 Sandy Street….Vince was the youngest of eleven kids, six boys and five girls!  In those days, there was a midwife who delivered the babies….and that midwife would get the birth paperwork to the Catholic Church….thereby, setting the baby’s birth date.  It might not have been the true birth date, but, possibly months after!   Now, Vince happens to be the only remaining family member left!   His Mother, Lena, was a guiding force in young Vince’s life….he thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world, with red hair and green eyes.  His love for his Mother grew into the loving traits he instills to this day in helping women in business and the community…But, tragically, at the age of 53, Lena passed away from leukemia when Vince was 10 years old. 
Let me introduce my new friend, Vince Raffeo….
Vincenzo Raffeo was born to immigrants from Sicily, Italy…they came to America through Philadelphia and settled in Norristown on 759 Sandy Street….Vince was the youngest of eleven kids, six boys and five girls!  In those days, there was a midwife who delivered the babies….and that midwife would get the birth paperwork to the Catholic Church….thereby, setting the baby’s birth date.  It might not have been the true birth date, but, possibly months after!   Now, Vince happens to be the only remaining family member left!   His Mother, Lena, was a guiding force in young Vince’s life….he thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world, with red hair and green eyes.  His love for his Mother grew into the loving traits he instills to this day in helping women in business and the community…But, tragically, at the age of 53, Lena passed away from leukemia when Vince was 10 years old. 
As a young boy, he attended Holy Savior Elementary in Norristown, was an altar boy for 12 years, and then attended Norristown High School….
Vince’s Dad started a “huckster” business, employing Vince as his driver at the tender age of 12!   Mom and Dad never learned to drive, but, the kids did!   A “huckster” business is the start of the grocery stores of today….Vince and his family would drive a truck around to homes to sell groceries, and fresh vegetables and meats!  Eventually, the small family business expanded….Vince and the family turned that small huckster business into a well-known grocery store in Collegeville!
Vince met his future wife, Jean Derecola at a dance at the Limerick School House…After two years they got in engaged and married a year later at St. Al’s in 1953. ….Vince and Jean were married for 65 years.   Vince and Jean had one child seven years later, their daughter Sherri Lynne, whom they adore.   Sherri has two daughters, Jamie and Lindsay, and two great-grandchildren, Carter and Olivia.
Jean and Vince were a good team, they worked hard together.  Vince has an entrepreneurial spirit…he grew the family grocery store, then owned a beer distributorship in town…throughout, Vince purchased commercial and rental properties in Collegeville and Trappe…He owned the “Pen and Ink” bar, where Jean worked with him side by side.  Then, Vince started to concentrate his efforts in the banking industry.  He worked at Victory Bank for the past 12 years to this day!  If age is truly just a number....90 isn’t stopping him!    He became "Mr. Collegeville", and was awarded the Key to Collegeville by the Mayor in town.....Vince has also served on different boards of directors, and has been a member of the Collegeville Fire Company for 55 years…this man has “staying power”…..!!!!!
As far as “home” goes, Vince and Jean started their life renting at Franklin and Water Street, then moved in 1958 to Meadowbrook Road in Pottstown, Chester County…..and they were the only Italians in the neighborhood…and back then, they were “different”….but, they persevered…..but, sadly, several years ago, Jean passed away from kidney failure….she spent the last years of her life on dialysis…
But, in a lovely twist of fate, Vince met Joan Batman, through business, and admittedly, she has been the best thing that has happened to him recently!…they have developed a loving partnership together…Joan actually graduated with his wife, Jean Raffeo!!!   Vince and Joan live in the home that he helped her finance through his bank!   Joan spent her career time in Philadelphia working her way up the ladder in the commercial property insurance company…. from the office to the field inspecting commercial and government properties to advise on insurance risks…She traveled extensively throughout the country, and everyone remembered her for her unique name “Joan Batman”!  Joan lived the majority of her married life in New Jersey….her husband passed away twenty years ago and she has two surviving sons.  Joan’s goals are to keep her good health!  She has a crew of girlfriends that get together.  She goes to Curves Monday and Wednesday mornings!  Go get ‘em, Joan!
Spending 60 years serving Rotary, and 55 years serving the Collegeville Fire Company is a testament to Vince’s giving nature.  But, I think what he is most proud of is helping to allow women into Rotary, as well as being a champion of women in the workplace!
Thank you Vince, because, without you, I probably would not be able to serve as Rotary president today!
 
 
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