Nationally recognized florist is Columbus Committee’s Italian-American of the Year

The Milford Columbus Committee has named retired florist Vincent J. Lambiase Jr. its Italian-American of the Year.

Lambiase was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved to Milford 45 years ago. He attended Milford High School and graduated as senior class president.

Lambiase started Beachwood Florist with his wife, Linda Wordell, in 1984 and ran the business for 33 years before selling it in 2016.

During the time the couple owned Beachwood, the shop grew to become a top-seller with the Teleflora wire service flower delivery company. Also, Lambiase won several awards for his work, including a Star of Respect award for his help on the 9-11 Garden Committee and a Small Business Award from the Milford Chamber of Commerce in 2011.

Lambiase has given back to his community by helping charities, schools and churches with their fundraising activities, according to members of the Milford Columbus Committee. He started a Christmas wreath sale for Troop 1 in 1982 that local troops now use as their primary fundraiser, selling more than 3,000 wreaths per year.

Lambiase has also been an active member of the Devon Rotary Club for almost 25 years, serving as club treasurer for almost 18 years. The club has honored him with the Oliver Andrus Founders Award, the Norman Purcell’s Award and the Devon Rotary Life Time Achievement Award.

Also being honored by the committee are Diane Candido and State Sen. Gayle Slossberg.

Candido, who will receive the Special Achievement Award, is known for her work in various education fields, including her lifetime membership in the PTA. She has also volunteered for and chaired the United Way of Milford annual giving campaign and has been involved in many United Way events.

Slossberg will receive the Special Recognition Award.

“Senator Slossberg was elected to the state senate in 2004 and is a passionate and tireless advocate for her community and our state,” notes a press release from the Milford Columbus Committee.

The Milford Columbus Committee also will award scholarships to three students from Milford. This year’s recipients are Julia Bryant, Abigail Huebner and Michael Sciancalepore.

To date, the committee has awarded more than $200,000 to Milford students.

Comprised of 25 Italian-American members, the Columbus Committee represents a cross section of professionals and business people in the Milford community.

The dinner dance takes place on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Vazzano’s Four Seasons in Stratford. Call Jim Birarelli at 203-877-8980 for tickets.