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Russell J. Salvatore, who has made a name for himself in both fine dining and philanthropy, has gifted the Diocese of Buffalo with a new delivery van. The Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof will provide great assistance to the diocesan Purchasing Department to offer greater efficiency and timeliness when making deliveries.

Restaurateur and philanthropist Russell Salvatore hands over the keys to a Ram Promaster 2500 van to Bishop Michael W. Fisher. The van will be used to make deliveries to the parishes and facilities of the Diocese of Buffalo. (Photo by Patrick J. Buechi/Diocese of Buffalo)

“We’re very grateful to Mr. Salvatore for his generosity for the diocese and to the people of the diocese,” said Bishop Michael J. Fisher, shortly before receiving the keys from Russell Salvatore himself. “This van will be a wonderful resource and help to us, and allows us to provide services to all our different parishes. On our Road to Renewal, we’re trying to consolidate our resources and do things more efficiently and effectively. So, this van will certainly help us to deliver candles and Communion bread to all our parishes, and anything else they need.”

Nancy Gugino, director of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, approached Salvatore asking for a new delivery van to be used primarily by the diocesan Purchasing Division to deliver parish and liturgical supplies to the 161 parishes and 13 high schools of the diocese.

“I said, Nancy, how many vans do you need? She said one. It was the easiest thing I ever did to say yes. One van? That’s not a hard job to do,” Salvatore said. “I hate to say no, and if I can do it, I’ll say yes to any possible charity thing I can do for the city of Buffalo.”

Luckily, the rain cleared out before the reception began outside of the Catholic Center on Main Street in downtown Buffalo on Aug. 8. Inside the Catholic Center, a short video tribute highlighted the donations Salvatore has made to build ball parks, support hospitals, and enhance education.

Bishop Michael W. Fisher and Russell Salvatore cut the ribbon to the new diocesan delivery van during an Aug. 8 ceremony. Also attending the celebration are Nancy Gugino, director of The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which spearheaded the gift; Ellen Musialowski, chief financial officer for the diocese; and Father Peter Karalus, vicar general for the diocese. (Photo by Nicole Dzimira)

“There is no question that there is no one else in Western New York who has given back so much to charity than Russell,” said Gugino. “From the bottom of our hearts, we collectively say thank you for this gift and for all the gifts in Western New York that we may all benefit from someday. You are leaving a legacy that will live on forever in our great city – a city we know that you love as exemplified by all of your philanthropy.”

Salvatore  himself, seemed impressed by the attention. “I am so proud to be Catholic and I am so lucky the Lord made me the individual I am,” he said. “Thank you. Thank you for your respect.”


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