Bocce Ball Invitational Story



Nine years ago Frank Valanzola and Pat DeChirico wanted to help “Operation Shoebox, NJ”. They wanted the charity to be able to send more boxes over to the troops! So Frank and Pat created the Bocce Invitational! The two men traveled all over the state of NJ meeting with Italian/American clubs to present their idea. The clubs all loved it and the first Bocce Invitational was born!


Frank being as energetic as he was developed the charity for the Bocce Ball event. He contacted as many donors and companies as possible. Pat was busy handling the back office for the charity and the event. Because of both of their efforts the first Bocce Invitational was well on its way!


Frank and Pat involved the military establishment, veterans organizations, the Park Commission and private companies. The Park Commission really stepped up to the plate for the charity. They built permanent bocce ball courts at Colonial Park in Somerset, NJ. The event is still played there each year.


The Bocce Invitational was extremely successful for three years raising money for Operation Shoebox and other charities. The event had to be placed on hiatus in 2011 due to both Frank and Pat fighting medical conditions. Pat eventually recovered but Frank did not and passed away in 2011.


The Bocce Invitational lost an outstanding, strong leader, great friend and compassionate human being.


In 2013, the Bocce Ball event is being resurrected by Pat and Frank’s wife Debbie. This year’s invitational will be bigger than the previous events and is scheduled to take place on June 21, 2014 at Colonial Park in Somerset.


And rest assured, Frank is directing the team and the event from Heaven!



The McCarton School