Good Afternoon Everyone – Un buon di a duc. My name is Evan Maltby and I am a member of the Fogolars’ Club in Oakville, Ontario.
A big theme of this congress has been: "Discovering Roots".
I didn't want to go home without discovering some for myself so last night I wandered the streets of Udine in search of a tree.
I found one and then stood staring at it for a while. I looked at its leaves, its branches, and its trunk. My eyes wandered to the ground; I could not find its roots.
Although I could not see the tree’s roots I knew they were there. They were there supporting the rest of the tree. This is the way I feel about my roots here in Friuli. I am not always fortunate enough to see them but they have always silently supported my family and I.
Friuli has supported generations of my family. It is where my grandparents were born and grew up.
When they left Italy they did not truly leave Friuli. Like many of you here in attendance today, they brought Friuli with them to Canada. It was this immigration of not only people but also of culture that helped to establish the Fogolars’ Federation of Canada.
This extension of Friuli further supported my family. My grandfather, grandmother and great uncle worked and volunteered for many years to help build and strengthen the Fogolars’ community. They benefited from its presence. Its Toronto club location is the very place my parents celebrated their wedding day. Many key events in my life, and that of my family, continue to be tied to the Furlan community, culture and heritage - Friuli has supported me and my family well beyond the borders of Italy.
Being able to attend this congress has been an absolute privilege. It has given me the unique opportunity to see roots that I rarely get to see. I have been able to see the villages were my grandparents and great uncle grew up. I have seen the buildings where they were born, the places they went to school, the places they worked, and the places that changed their lives and helped to mold them into the people I love.
For this outstanding opportunity I would like to thank the Fogolars’ Federation of Canada, the hardworking members who made it possible, and the Oakville Fogolars’ club whose financial support ultimately made this trip a reality for me.
This is the first congress that my grandparents have had to miss. And although it makes me sad that they are unable to be here with me, you have all given me a great gift that I can in turn share with them. You have given me a deep knowledge of our roots, and a great appreciation of the warm and caring people who live and who, like you, have lived in Friuli. I will hold these experiences and sentiments close to my heart and I will share them with my family and my community back home.
In closing I express my gratitude to all of you- Un Mandi di cur.