A moment of silence for one of the greats … Tony Fazio

Few of us do things that matter to history. We’re not the inventors/artists/explorers etc., whose deeds get written about. Given that, the best of us are content to just do things that matter to the people around us. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to one such person, Tony Fazio.

Tony, who died last week at the age of 90, was the father of my friend Regina. I didn’t know Tony well but I had spent a little time with him at weddings, birthday parties and holidays. I knew him better through the stories Reg tells me about him. He and Helen (his wife, Regina’s mom) are funny people — like most parents are funny to their kids. So what I heard about Tony were the sweet funny stories. I also heard about the things he did.

A veteran of WWII, he served under General Patton in the 94th Infantry-Field Artillery Division, and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. He was honorably discharged in January of 1946. Upon his return from the war, he became a certified watchmaker and Gemologist, and opened Community Jewelers in Harrison, which he owned and operated for many years. Supported by his wife, Helen, Tony was highly involved in many volunteer efforts. Among them, as president of the Rotary Club in 1965-66, he fueled a relief drive for victims of a devastating hurricane in Honduras. On behalf of the people in Harrison, he was also instrumental in the installation of ramps at the United States Post Office and other locations throughout the town to enable handicapped access. Additionally, he founded Operation Lifeline, dedicated to improving rescue services and first responder education. In 1970, driven by his love of the opera, and concerned that professional opera performances were not affordable or accessible, particularly to young people, he founded the Harrison Friends of the Opera. Funded through donations, Harrison Friends of the Opera brought (and still brings) professional performances to the community free to the public.

So, in short, here’s what Tony did: He was a good husband, dad and grand-dad who made the world a little better.

Lord, in my many moments of grandiosity, help me to think of Tony. I can’t bring about world peace or end poverty. I will not be winning a Nobel or Oscar or whatever. Instead maybe I can help someone get someplace they’ve never been before, aid those who are truly suffering and even let a little more art into the world. There’s a lot to be said for big dreams, there’s even more to be said for actually getting things done.

Donations may be made to any charity benefiting your local community OR, please consider donating your time to any local volunteer effort and dedicating some of that time to Tony’s memory.

Thank you, Tony. I hope I can accomplish as much as you did.

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