Frank Scozzafava served the Army 21 years as a cook, then after retiring at Fort Stewart in 1986, he continued serving fellow veterans and the community through veterans’ service organizations.
Scozzafava will tell you that he’s originally from New York, not that he needs to say it. His accent clearly indicates he’s not from South Georgia. Nonetheless, he will tell you Hinesville is his home now, having been here 35 years.
In addition to serving at Fort Stewart, Scozzafava’s Army career took him to lengthy assignments in Korea, Alaska, Italy and Germany. He even participated in Operation Bright Star in Egypt.
“I’m a ‘life member’ of the Disabled Veterans of America, Chapter 46,” Scozzafava said. “I’m also a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 789; a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 6602; a life member of the (VFW’s) Military Order of the Cootie, and I’m the senior vice-commander of the American Legion, Post 168.”
For his work in those organizations and in the community, the recent widower has been recently recognized by Legion Post 168 as Legionnaire of the Year. Last week, as Scozzafava and other members prepared the post for a Christmas party, Commander Scott Simpson, an Air Force veteran from Wisconsin, paused to talk about their Legionnaire of the Year.
“We presented this award to Frank, who is our senior vice-commander, for his outstanding work in the American Legion and for his support in the community and for other veterans’ organizations,” Simpson said. “I’ve known Frank for probably eight or nine years.
“I knew his wife. They both were active members in the community. It’s my pleasure to award him as our Legionnaire of the Year.”
Like most veterans, Scozzafava is proud of his service. During the recent Wreaths for Warriors Walk He volunteered to drive a golf cart for ailing and elderly relatives of soldiers represented at Warriors Walk.
Even Scozzafava’s home reflects his patriotism and military service. A flag pole waves a full-size Old Glory. It’s guarded by a nearly life-size statue of an American soldier. The statue has been painted with a bright camouflage pattern to reflect the battle dress uniform worn by soldiers during much of his time in the Army.
“They had a bunch of these statues at Walmart that some kids had busted up,” he said, explaining that he repaired and gave away several. “I picked up 10 of them and gave most to veterans’ organizations, but I kept one. A lady across the street wanted to paint it like a G.I. It took her about two weeks. I think it looks good.”
Other American symbols include a rock with an American flag painted on it. There’s also a trail of dark ashes surrounding the statue and flag pole.
“They burned the old eastern redbud trees in a ceremony at Warriors Walk,” Scozzafava explained. “They were giving out bags of ashes to anybody who wanted them, so I took two bags and spread them at the feet of my soldier.”