Get Acquainted - Q & A
06/25/2014 12:00AM ● Published by Kimberly Boney
Photos: James Mazzotta
Tell us a bit about yourself: I was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., on November 10, 1932. I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan… I’m one year older than the franchise itself.
How did you come to live in the North State? I moved to Oak Run around the time when the Fountain Fire happened, around 1990 or so. I became involved with the Oak Run Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary. I was president for eight or 10 years. I did some fundraising. While I was there, a gentleman donated his mobile home and we converted it into a community library for Oak Run. Books and shelving were also donated. I was there when the first flagpole next to the firehouse in Oak Run was donated in honor of a mechanic/fireman/World War II Marine vet. In 2001, I began to do some volunteer work with KIXE. I picked up donations for their fundraisers and auctions. In 2001, I also became employed with Old Navy, doing maintenance and janitorial work. Facilities, they call it. I still work there six days a week.
Where do you find your energy? Italian genes! OK?!
Your face may be a familiar one to some North State residents. What would you say you are most famous for in our community? I would say it’s for my association with the veterans organizations. I am a Korean War Army Veteran. I served from 1953 to 1955 in the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment Recon. I am connected with Amvets and American Legion. I work in public relations for Stand Down, for homeless vets, their families and their pets. I am on the support group for the Igo Cemetery and the Veterans Home on Knighton Road.
I am a member of the Sons of Italy Shasta Lodge. We support the Redding Grange. I am on the council and serve as the historian, membership chairman and as part of the heritage team. Every year at the Sheriff’s Department’s multicultural celebration at the mall, I dress up as Christopher Columbus. We also have Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Ok. What’s your favorite food? Italian, right? You know it! Lasagna is my favorite.
What accomplishments are you most proud of? In 2012, I was nominated for the Veteran Advocate of the Year. That nomination meant that I worked with the veterans’ organizations and the community to bring them together. That was a proud moment. In 2013, at the Festival Italiano, I was recognized as the Italian of the Year.
You are almost always seen with a camera in your hand. What do you love most ABOUT photography? I do a lot of work with military groups. It’s rewarding to capture candid moments with all of the great veterans we have here.
So, when you are not out making a difference in our community or taking pictures what do you like to do for fun? Music is one of my hobbies. I play upright and electric bass. I used to play on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. I played in uniform, too. If you played in your uniform, you appeared in both halves of the show.
You are a United States Veteran, and that makes you a hero in our book. What qualities define a hero for you? Somebody who is willing to go and help others – veterans, the homeless - and isn’t looking to get any kind of reward for it, whether it’s holding their hand or bringing them dinner. That would be a hero to me.
Who was your hero growing up? My father was my hero. One time I heard him talking in the early hours of the morning. It had to have been 3 or 4 am. I got up to see who he was talking to at such a strange hour. My dad was there praying. When I asked him who he was praying for, he said, “For the leaders of all the countries of the world, that they will be kind, gentle and helpful to the people who live in the countries they lead.” And then he said, “Now, who are you praying for?”
Who is your hero today? My wife, Diane, to put up with me the way she does, to have her stand behind me 110 percent. She’s my rock. She’s not quite a senior. She’s 20 years younger than me. I’m not sure if you want to include that or not. She always says, “Frank, just be careful.” I have a Hawaii 5-0 ringtone on my Tracfone. Whenever I answer, she says “Book ‘em, Danno!” •