Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to an immeasurably compassionate person, someone who made a real difference for decades in assisting those battling against addiction and mental health issues.
Madam Speaker, Franca Damiani Carella, the Countess of Vergada, passed away on January 17. Franca, as she was known to her friends, survived refugee camps, worked as a nurse and was the founder and executive director of the Vitanova Foundation.
Vitanova has been providing shelter to people struggling with addiction since 1987. All it asks in return is that the individual be committed to change.
I was proud to call Franca a friend. Being in her presence with her wonderful, contagious smile and passion to assist others was inspiring. She was truly a trailblazer.
Franca will be dearly missed by her family and all those she touched, but her legacy will continue through Vitanova. May we all emulate her warmheartedness and the difference she made to individuals reaching for a hand.
Riposa in pace.