Retired Capt. Louis Cavaliere (left) welcomes members of the Keystone Regional Rolls-Royce Owners Club to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
By Barbara Ann Zippi
From a chance meeting through a veterans initiative with retired Capt. Louis Cavaliere, Bob and I were introduced to the Chapel of the Four Chaplains on the grounds of The Navy Yard in Philadelphia and were so impressed, we had to share it with his car club.
On a recent Sunday afternoon in April, the Keystone Regional Rolls-Royce Owners Club, RROC, was welcomed with a Behind the Scenes Road Rally escorted by Cavaliere, now chairman of the Chapel. Ending at the state-of-the-art Sub Zero Wolf appliance showroom at Fretz for Italian Delicacies personally prepared by chef Dan Brodeur of IATZIE Ballroom by Anthony’s Catering, the group looks forward to the Spring Flings.
The RROC is an International Club for Bentley and Rolls Royce owners and enthusiasts. Founded in 1951 with world headquarters in Mechanicsburg, Pa., they have more than 8,000 Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars represented in 50 countries. What better way to enjoy the cars than on a Road Rally through The Navy Yard passing the many changes, restorations, growth and views along the Delaware River among a multitude of Navy Ships?
Since the late 1940s the Chapel of the Four Chaplains has been telling the story of the Four Chaplains who exemplified self-sacrifice and interfaith cooperation when the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was sunk by a German U-boat in the Labrador Sea in 1943. Some 700 lives were lost and approximately 200 survivors were rescued by the USCG Escabana and USCG Comanche.
In 2001, the chapel moved to 1201 Constitution Ave. in the Navy Yard, the site of a World War II Navy Chapel.
The day’s activities, filmed by MetraMediaTV to air on an upcoming episode of “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style,” shows the magnitude of this former gated and guarded Navy Base. Capt. Cavaliere was the perfect escort for the day. A New York Italian American, he settled his family in Cherry Hill, N.J., and worked for both the Navy at the Navy Yard until retirement, and then for private contractors. When the Navy Yard closed in 1995, he never envisioned it could be turned around into one of the country’s leading examples of a successful transformation.
Today, as chairman, he’s proud to be part of that transformation and is dedicated to keeping the Chapel’s legacy alive and thrilled to be able to share his knowledge, history and love of the Navy, The Navy Yard, and The Chapel, all his passions.
The chapel is open to the public and private tours can be arranged. Chapel Executive Director Christine Beady and assistant Michele are always accommodating and welcoming to new friends.
For upcoming events check out www.FourChaplains.org.