Meet the Chief Marshals for the 232nd 4th of July Celebration
Lisa Sienkiewicz and Gail Parella
Photo Courtesy of Manny Correira
In recognition of their legacy of family and community values, I have chosen to honor Lisa Sienkiewicz and Gail Parella as Chief Marshals for the 232nd Bristol Fourth of July Celebration.
Lisa is a 1983 graduate of Our Lady of Fatima High School. She grew up here in town and still resides here with her husband of 26 years and their two children, ages 22 and 17. A committed volunteer, she is a member of 100 Women Who Care RI, a current member of the Gordon School Heads Advisory Council, a Class Parent Coordinator for Portsmouth Abbey Fifth Form, and a Lector at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. She formerly held positions as Gordon Community Association Co-President, Gordon Centennial Celebration Co-President, and is a past member of the Gordon School Finance Committee. She is also a past member of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee and a past Corresponding Secretary of the Bristol Fourth of July Committee. A member of both the East Bay and Newport Chambers of Commerce, she has been involved in the running of her family’s business for the past 34 years.
Gail graduated from Bishop Connelly High School in 1987 and then Rhode Island College in 1991. She grew up here in Bristol and currently resides here with her husband of 17 years and their three sons, ages 16, 14, and 12. An avid volunteer in the community and at her children’s schools, she has held such roles as Co-Chair for the St. Philomena School Fundraising Auction in 2011 and 2012, as well as Head Room Parent for multiple classes at St. Philomena School, coordinating activities and parties for the children. She is a Communicant of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, a member of the Sons of Italy, and a parent volunteer for the Bristol King Philip Little League. In addition, she and her husband are former Chairpersons of the Catholic Charity Fund Appeal for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. She began her professional career in retail in 1991 as a Sales Manager for Express, a division of The Limited Corp. In 1996, she gravitated back to her family’s business where she has remained for the past 21 years. She is also a member of both the East Bay and Newport Chambers of Commerce.
Home and work life is inextricably linked for our Chief Marshals. They quite literally grew up in the business started by their parents back in 1961. It began as an old-fashioned, family-run record store on Wood Street. They lived with their parents in an apartment upstairs from the family store and they fondly recall the store as a hub where everyone met and gathered to shop and to socialize. They watched as their parents nurtured relationships with people in their community and are still touched by the graciousness and generosity they witnessed in their parents’ interactions with friends and customers. Their parents, and even their grandparents who owned a small grocery store in town, could be counted on to help someone suffering a hardship or donating goods to those in need.
Eventually, their parents expanded the business and moved to their current, larger Bristol location. In 1995, they took over the business from their parents and have raised their own families within the walls of their store, just as their parents did. A visit to their store today is not unlike the days when they were growing up. Their own children can be seen helping out, eating a meal, or completing homework in a family room located in the back of the store. Friends and neighbors come and go, some to shop and some just to visit. All receive a friendly greeting from the family Labradoodle, who has become a cheerful mascot for the business
Today, they strive to be the same reassuring and supportive presence in their community that their grandparents and parents were by supporting local groups through sponsorships, donations, and volunteerism. On a personal level, they volunteer countless hours at their children’s schools and are active members of their neighborhood parish. They are most comfortable working hard behind the scenes to make events happen. And from corporate sponsorship of local Little League baseball teams, festivals, food and toy drives, and the iconic Bristol Fourth of July concert series, to the financial and product donations for school organizations, community groups, and many local churches, they are known as a pillar of support and good will in local communities.
They greatly appreciate the community support of their own local business and make every effort to support other Bristol businesses through such initiatives as local restaurant gift card giveaways and participation in Bristol Merchant Association events.
For them, “family-owned” is more than an advertising slogan. They are committed to the core values upon which their business was founded here in Bristol so many years ago. Their involvement as community leaders and their dedication to the ongoing success and growth of their business is an important asset for the Bristol community and area commerce.
They have always cherished the Annual Bristol Fourth of July Celebration as a special and festive opportunity to share the beauty and patriotism of Bristol with family and friends. To be selected as Chief Marshals of this time-honored celebration is incredibly special for them and they believe that this honor belongs not only to them, but to their parents, as well. Their father, who passed away in 2009, and their mother, who passed away in 2013, would be so proud to see how much their hard-working, loving daughters have accomplished. And what makes it even more special is that they have accomplished so much together, supporting each other every step of the way.