After spending 25 years working for the YMCA and other non-profits across the country, Anthony “Tony” Ceresoli has returned to his hometown of Rome where he now serves as executive director of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Mohawk Valley Region.
“It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in Rome...I actually missed the snow,” Ceresoli laughed.
“I’ve worked for some non-profits all over the country — my wife and two boys saw the whole country. But I have brothers and a sister who are still here, so it was nice to come back to my hometown” to be closer to family, the new executive director said.
In his seventh week on the job, Ceresoli said he was looking forward to working with the staff and volunteers of the local AHA who have helped make America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk one of the largest and most successful fund-raisers in the country for the fight against heart disease and stroke.
The Heart Run & Walk has had a “long-time standing group of fantastic volunteers who have led this organization and function,” as well as a small staff, that has worked to make the event achieve a high degree of success, Ceresoli said. “I was excited to see the commitment and passion, and to hear the stories” of local residents that “revolve around heart disease and stroke. America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk is still one of the best and largest functions in the U.S.”
Tony and his wife Kathy of 35 years, a Buffalo native, were both happy to return to upstate New York. The couple has two sons: Anthony, a U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, and Dylan, a U.S. Army lieutenant. They also have a small granddaughter, Abri.
“I lived in five states throughout my career, and most recently I came from California,” Ceresoli said. “My oldest son is stationed in North Carolina, and my younger one will be stationed in Georgia. We came back to Rome to be closer to family, but we also look forward to traveling down South to visit our sons and granddaughter.”
Before working for the American Heart Association, Ceresoli also served as a senior vice-president and a chief operating officer for the YMCA.
“So I definitely have experience in a leadership role,” he said.
His main goal is to continue the success of the programs already in place at AHA Mohawk Valley Region.
“My first goal is to continue the great programs that are already running here in the Mohawk Valley,” Ceresoli said.
“The Utica walk is huge, but we still run programs in Rome and different areas. My number-two goal is to always grow the exposure of the heart association. It’s a great organization that’s making great strides in heart ailments and stroke, so the more we expose programs offered by AHA and its larger events,” the more support the organization will receive, Ceresoli said.
In the meantime, Ceresoli said he and Kathy are working to get readjusted to life in New York state, and admitted they may need to relearn a thing or two, like driving through central New York winters.
“I’m enjoying getting comfortable back home, getting back into the community and meeting local leaders,” Ceresoli said. “We have lived in North Carolina, Florida and Arizona, so we’ve become accustomed to warmer, dryer climates, so the weather will take some getting used to.”
He said, “But the Rome market has tremendous potential to grow, and I’m excited to what next level we can take Rome and the whole American Heart Association.”