If you’ve been in Golden for longer than a week, chances are you have met a Palumbo by now.
Gino Palumbo’s grandfather, his dad’s dad, came to Canada after he landed in North America at Ellis Island in New York.
“Colleen actually has the documentation from him arriving there,” said Palumbo. His wife Colleen is the executive director of the Golden Museum.
“The first recollection of my grandfather is that he landed in Trail. He first came to Canada to work, and then he went on to buy a dairy in the Field area,” said Palumbo.
After that the family settled on a farm just south of Golden, and that’s where Palumbo’s father, as well as he and his siblings grew up.
“That’s where we were all born and raised,” he said. “We milked a lot of cows, and fed a lot of pigs. Chased a lot of cows too.”
Palumbo’s heart was never into farming, a trait he shared with most of his five siblings, and by his late teens he moved onto other pursuits. Only his brother Barry stuck with the family business, and still lives out at the farm on Mitchell Road today.
“I left for a spell. I got married young and thought I would go test out the oil fields,” said Palumbo. So he went to Lloydminster, Alberta for two and a half years before circumstances brought him back home.
“Not long after that my mom fell ill, and she had cancer, and my dad wanted to take time off to look after her. So I moved back to the valley to look after my dad’s trucking ventures,” he said. “Dad took Mom back east. She’s always dreamt of going to a place called Vankleek Hill, and my mom’s great grandfather was a Vankleek. So she went back to see where he had homesteaded.”
Palumbo has stayed in Golden ever since, working first for his father, then driving logging trucks, working a short stint with CP Rail, then back into trucking hauling power polls, and eventually settling down with BC Transit.
Palumbo has lived in this community his whole life, and there is one aspect of it that he has held a passion for ever since he was a child.
“Hockey has definitely been my thing, no doubt about that,” he said. “My passion for hockey came from watching Hockey Night in Canada with my uncle, watching Lafleur, Lapointe, Laperriere, and Dryden, that was it for me.
“We didn’t get a TV into my house until way late. I think everyone else had a colour TV by the time we had our black and white. But Saturday nights was big. And I’d have to get the antenna just right so I could get the CBC and see a bit of hockey.”
For nearly 14 years now, Palumbo has been the voice of the Golden Rockets (along with Tom Stanton), doing the online broadcasts for the games.
“Hockey has always been in me, I’ve always loved the sport. I’ve never been able to play it at any great level, but apparently I could talk lots. So it was just natural that I went the direction that I did.”
His love for Golden hockey, however, has gone far beyond the broadcasts. Colleen spent years as the president of the club, and over the years the couple has hosted countless billets in their home.
“Over the years Colleen and I try to add them up but we lose track. We think we’re probably in the neighbourhood of 40 over the past 14 years, maybe more,” said Palumbo.
“I think out of the 40 or more, I don’t know of one that we wouldn’t have back. I think 80 per cent of them have stayed in touch. I had the pleasure two years ago of emceeing our very first hockey billet’s wedding.”