Post Honors Frankfort-Schuyler Elementary School

Capraro and school staff
Phil Capraro praises staff of Frankfort-Schuyler School.

Jan. 19, 2012 -- The January post meeting, which was a joint gathering with the auxiliary unit, featured the presentation of a Red White and Blue Award to Frankfort-Schulyer Elementary School (formerly called West Frankfort) for its annual Veterans Day observance.

Post Member and World War II Army veteran Phil Capraro, who helped present the award with Post Commander Chris Urban, said he couldn't say enough about how well the school treats veterans, noting that the staff has organized the annual observance for 20 years..

Principal Frank Saraceno, who accepted the award along with five members of his staff, explained that the observance teaches children about "patriotism and the big sacrifice veterans made for them." The observance begins with breakfast, followed by a program of patriotic music and talks by guest speakers, including Congressman Richard Hanna, State Sen. James Seward, State Assemblyman Marc Butler, and military representatives. It concludes with lunch and then the opportunity for veterans to visit with children in their classrooms. More than 100 veterans participated.

The pupils, Saraceno said, come to "really know what Veterans Day is all about when they get that day off from school."

Other school staff there were Donna Barberio, library and tech person; Amy Roepnack, art teacher; Mike Rodriguez, senior custodian; Linda Unser, remedial reading teacher, and Susan Cruze, teacher assistant.

Urban recognized several World War II veterans who attended to show their appreciation for Frankfort-Schuyler school. In addition to Capraro (who landed in Normandy on D-Day and was wounded twice, including in the Battle of the Bulge), there were:

  • Albert Circelli, Navy veteran who was on the USS Missouri battleship when the Japanese came on board to formally surrender.
  • Frank Zamiello, Navy veteran who manned 5-inch guns aboard the USS Pasadena light cruiser, shelling enemy positions on Iwo Jima at night. The navy bombardment "lit up the island like daylight."'
  • Pat Capraro (Phil's brother), a Marine veteran who saw action on Iwo Jima and Saipan, and who was among the first U.S. troops to enter Nagasaki after the bombing.

When Circelli mentioned he was 87 during the pre-meeting dinner, Zamiello, at 85, quipped, "I'm a young guy," and Pat Capraro, 85, added: "We like to entertain you old guys!"

Following several reports by post and auxiliary officers, Urban noted that the post treated veterans at The Pines nursing home to a Christmas Party, which included a visit by Santa Claus.

Then he presented County Legion awards to Wayne Depre, captain of the post bowling team. The team was named the 2011 County American Legion Traveling Bowling chanps and also received the Team High 10 plaque.

Before the meeting came to a close:

  • Members approved a motion to endorse post Chaplain Paul Wojcik for the position of 5th District chaplain.
  • Urban said a nominating committee would be appointed in February to nominate candidates for office for 2011-2012.
  • Urban announced that the Lenten Friday Fish Fry would return, starting Feb. 24, with post Treasurer Jim Haggerty and post Vice Commander Jim George serving as cooks.