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Thank You For Your Support!

Pat Smiley and I thank you for your support of our Memorial Day fundraiser and efforts to promote his and Richard Johnson’s book, “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition”! If you’ve been busy or just didn’t quite get to ordering their book, you can still do so and we will still honor our pledge of 20% of book sales to be split between St. Mark’s Church and the Catholic Daughters’ Matthew 25 Food Cupboard. You will still get the ebook edition, too, for free. This effort will officially end on Friday, June 5. Here’s the link for you to use – https://frankfordgazette.com/books-for-sale/

We have mailed the books to those who ordered and have mailed the donations to St. Mark’s Church and Court St. Francis de Sales #2617 CDA. Every little bit helps!!!

For all of you who have purchased the book since it was available last fall, please check your email as Bob Smiley has emailed you a link to the ebook. Please check your email and let us know if you did not receive one and had purchased a book. We do our utmost to insure our records are accurate but… We hope you enjoy this ebook version, too. If you would like to share your comments about the book and allow us to use them as testimonials, please email gil@frankfordgazette.com

We would appreciate hearing what you think of the book!! Thank you again for your purchase and we look forward to sharing more publications with you that pique your interest. Stay well!

 

 

 

 

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Our “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” Honor Roll!

This Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, we wanted to let the “Frankford Heroes” tell you their stories themselves. It’s true that Bob put their stories into the 2nd Edition of his and Richard Johnson’s book, but he is simply retelling the stories of the lives they lived and the sacrifices they have made so that they are always remembered!

At the end of this post, there is a a list of all those who are featured in this latest edition of “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition”. And here are some of their stories. Remember, through Tuesday evening, May 26, if you purchase a copy of Bob and Richard’s book ($14.95) through our website, we will donate 20% of the list price to be shared between St. Mark’s Church in Frankford and the CDA Court St. Francis De Sales #2617 Matthew 25 Food Cupboard at St. Mark’s. Also, by buying this print edition, we will give you the ebook free. The ebook has additional information and links and has just been finished. Nothing is ever as easy as it may seem. (So, if you bought the book previously, we will be emailing you the pdf asap. Thank you for your patience.) We accept PayPal, Credit or Debit Cards or you can mail us a check. You’ll find all the details at this link:    https://frankfordgazette.com/books-for-sale/

“Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” contains the stories of almost 190 Veterans from Frankford. Frankford was a small town before it incorporated with Philadelphia and patriotism and a sense of history continue to be a large part of our traditions. 147 of these stories are those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for our freedom. The rest of the stories are those who served proudly and most, if not all, still call Frankford their home. To all our Veterans, past and present, thank you! We thank also, all the men and women of our Armed Forces currently serving so proudly and in unexpected ways. Many have been a real support to areas of the country struggling with coronavirus. We salute you and ask God to bless you abundantly!!

I chose a story from Bob’s book that I wanted to share with you. The first is about a young man named Stephen Blanchett. “Stephen Paul Blanchett was born on October 20, 1947 and lived on Foulkrod Street in Frankford.  He enlisted in the Army early in 1965 and served as a corpsman. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously: ‘He distinguished himself by exceptional valor while serving as Medical Specialist for his unit when it came under heavy small arms fire in rice paddies northwest of Dong Tam, Vietnam, on March 7, 1967. As the unit was maneuvering slowly through several rice paddies, they came under enemy sniper fire. Immediately, one of the unit’s leaders was hit and severely wounded. Private Blanchett, 350 meters to the rear, was notified, and began racing through the paddies in order to reach the wounded man. When he had come to within 50 meters of the casualty, he was urged by fellow comrades to go no further, due to the increasing amount of hostile fire. He courageously disregarded the warning and with fire all about him, ran to the side of the wounded man. He then pulled the wounded man behind the safety of a dike separating two paddies and administered vitally needed first aid. This courageous act was one of many times he unhesitatingly risked his life in behalf of his fellow soldiers.’” Paul was 19 years old – 19!!! There have been so many just like him – good men of valor, courage and a strong sense of duty and caring for their fellow man!

“Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” – Let’s take a look and see if you are familiar with any of the names! These are our honored Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives for our freedoms during the following wars! There are two pages of names and there are two arrows at the bottom of the document to let you move between the pages. Remember our special offer ends Tuesday evening, May 26 at 11:59 PM!

FH Alphabetical LIsting

 

 

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“River Never Smooth”!

We all believe in love! There’s all kinds of love – love for our family members, love for friends, even degrees of love. We look for a soul-mate; we label people as acquaintances, good friends, best friends and the ever popular, bff! We need love; we won’t thrive without it. When I was 5 years old, I was a flower girl for my Aunt Cass’s wedding. As I knelt in the first pew of the Church, I thought she would go to a Castle and we would never see her again. Her life would be a fairytale. I can tell you it was not as she lost her husband while she was pregnant with their third child.

Some very hurtful and even deadly things happen in the course of love. It’s the latter we’re going to talk about. This is not your typical Christmas feel-good-story but we need to be aware that people we know and even those we think we know may be experiencing physical, emotional and other types of abuse all in the name of love!

Fiona Harewood

Fiona Harewood can tell you about this – she has been there herself. Putting her experiences and her efforts towards regaining her own personal power and self, she has written a new book to help others. Her story is so compelling and important, we, at The Frankford Gazette are helping her to pre-launch her book, “River Never Smooth  – Reclaiming Power After Abuse”. 

A current resident of Juniata, Fiona also is a member of a local Church here in Frankford. She comes to us from the country of Guyana, officially a “Co-operative Republic”, located on the northern part of South America. The northern border of Guyana is the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language. She would also live for a time in Barbados until 2001 when she came to the United States.

This is not her first book. She also wrote, “I DID IT…You Can, Too”, and in it, Fiona challenges “drop outs to become dreamers”. She knows what she’s talking about – she was a failure during High School, completing only one CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) in English Literature. Once she arrived in the United States and had to clean homes to make ends meet, she knew her way forward would be to finish her education. At 44, she returned to school and after 3 1/2 years, graduated magna cum laude with a degree from Pierce in Paralegal Studies. Another 18 months and Fiona completed the work necessary to receive a Masters in Public Policy from Drexel University. Kudos to you, Fiona. Her education would serve her well. She then wanted to encourage others who, for one reason or another, did not complete their education. Also, she wanted to encourage those students already in school to stay there. She has spoken at schools and other organizations sharing the wisdom that she has earned and learned.

Which brings us to her newest book about to be released. In “River Never Smooth – Reclaiming Power After Abuse”, Fiona is once again sharing her own personal story that is also a national issue affecting millions. In speaking with Fiona, she shared with me the following facts. Did you know that nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in just one single year? Or that more than 12 million men, women and children are affected by varying forms of abuse over a year? Abuse has many types, not just physical. There is emotional, mental, sexual and financial abuse just to name a few. Also, we know that there is not just one type of abuser or one gender alone responsible for such violence.

In her book, Fiona uses her storytelling abilities to illustrate for us what abuse can look like and why some people don’t even feel they’re being abused. In telling her story, Fiona has structured “River Never Smooth” into 4 parts.

Part 1 is “Bad Choices” that many of us make. We have family and friends who try to tell us but do we at least consider what they have to say? This is so important for our teenagers and young adults who need to understand that people who try to point them in the right direction care and are only trying to help. It is very important to listen and learn from other people’s experience as opposed to living their tragic circumstances. We must be ready to accept that this is an abusive relationship and be ready to change it. This can take a long time.

Part 2 tells us about “Starting Over” and this is where friends and families can help victims of domestic violence and abuse. You can’t do this alone. Sometimes, it requires much more than empathy. If we truly want to help someone “escape” their situation, we need to be ready to help them financially, and otherwise, until they can get back on their feet. We know that, especially in the case of women, the choice is to stay with an abuser because of financial needs.

Part 3 explains to us that “Repeating Mistakes” is something that will happen. It takes time, practice and real awareness to choose those who are worthy of your trust and your love. Once you’ve been hurt, literally, it will be a while before you will see as clearly as you need to in choosing friends or partners.

Part 4 leads us to “The Decision and Getting It Right”. Hopefully, you will be stronger by the time you get there and experiencing a sense of power. No matter how many times we have failed or given love to people who will end up hurting us, there is one who truly does loves us unconditionally and that is God. You have got to rely on God’s help for strength, for the commitment you need not to be drawn into what is almost a second nature – putting others first. This is about you and what is best for you!  Surprising as it may seem, you must also forgive your abuser before you can fully heal. Overall, after reading “River Never Smooth”, you will:

  • Identify abuse and know how to deal with it;
  • Know when to move on;
  • Live a life free of regrets; and
  • Rise above your circumstances and emerge an overcomer.

“EMBRACE YOUR PAST, THEN TOSS IT!”

In conversations with her Mother, Fiona shared with me that her Mother once told her, “Your life reminds me of a river – a river never smooth”. Fiona credits her mother with naming the book. For some people, that’s so true. But, like Fiona, we can take that “never smooth river” and redirect it for our own good and to help others traveling that same river.

I feel that Fiona and her story is a very, very powerful one that needs to be told and heard. Look below for an upcoming Global Launch Party on January 26, 2020. You can register for this Launch experience at this link – https://www.fionaharewood.com/river-never-smooth

Dating Abuse Statistics. https://www.loveisrespect.org/resources/dating-violence-statistics/, Accessed October 13, 2019. National Domestic Violence Hotline. Get the Facts & Figures. https://www.thehotline.org/ resources/statistics/, Accessed October 13, 2019.

 

 

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“Frankford Heroes” Were Remembered At The Historical Society of Frankford’s November Meeting!

Bob Smiley, Editor, “The Frankford Gazette”, and Richard Johnson just released their second book which contains the stories of local brave men and women in the service of their country. Each November, our hearts and minds remember all those who so selflessly gave their time and sometimes even their lives in the service of their country. Every one of them deserves our thanks and appreciation for their willingness to die, if necessary, to preserve our freedoms. “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” is a tribute to them and tells their stories so that they and their sacrifices live on!

Taking us from a small 17th Century village in Philadelphia county to a 21st Century neighborhood in the city of Philadelphia, PA, Frankford has a long history of proud military service. This new edition has 142 brave men who would not return from war. In addition to their stories, those men and women who have been profiled in the Frankford Gazette as “Veteran of the Month” are also included. These were the lucky ones who made it back home yet still bore the scars, and in some cases, disabilities that killing causes.

In the early years, records are scarce, but it is known that a Frankford resident, General Isaac Worrell (a Frankford street bears his name) served in the Revolutionary War. We have the names of a few hundred men who served in the War of 1812 and it was said that Frankford sent more men to the Civil War than any other town of its size. Think about that for a moment. We also have the first documentation of deaths in service available from newspaper reports in the 1860s. Our local patriots continued their service through WWI, WWII, Korea and the Vietnam War. Service continues today with our young men and women on active duty and in the reserves.

Bob Smiley, “Frankford Heroes Remembered” at The Historical Society of Frankford

Tuesday, November 12th, was a brutally cold day, yet we were very gratified to see familiar faces and new ones who were heroes, themselves, for braving the cold and coming out to The Historical Society of Frankford which is a treasure in our community. Smiley, along with Pat Smiley and their son, Jim Smiley, the co-founder of “The Frankford Gazette” and the developer of our online presence and all things “techie”, participated in the presentation aptly titled, “Frankford Heroes Remembered”. The Smileys really like to keep everything a family affair – and we have a big, extended family – it includes all of you! We really enjoy being able to return to Frankford as needed and when we can because Frankford is a family!!

Today, most people focus on the individual but the sacrifices of these men and women and their families should not be forgotten. For that reason, Bob thinks it’s so very important to tell their stories. Here is a quick glimpse of some of the highlights of Bob’s presentation! It was passing by the tombstone of Joseph Alexander Coyle that first ignited Bob’s passion for these unsung heroes. In Bob’s words:

Back in 2014, I was working on another project, documenting St. Joachim’s Cemetery and I was taking pictures of all the headstones.  I was almost finished, when I came upon this one.  It is unusual because it is a military burial, a young man killed in the First World War and yet it is not the standard issue military headstone.  I was curious and decided to see what else I could find out about that guy. A few days later, I found him on Ancestry.  It is one thing to be looking at a stone with a name on it but it is an entirely different experience to see him as a person.  A young man, sitting proudly for a portrait, with his whole life before him, not knowing that he would die in France within a few months. 

‘Joseph was born in Frankford on January 26, 1892 and lived at 1325 Sellers and 1629 Fillmore Street. He was a shipping clerk at S.W. Evans and Son on Paul Street when he was inducted into the Army on May 25, 1918. On July 9, 1918 he shipped out on the USS America bound for France.  He was serving with Company K of the 315th Infantry, 79th Division when he was wounded on August 28, 1918. He died of pneumonia on October 28, 1918. He is buried in St. Joachim Cemetery in Frankford. He was survived by his father, John, and his mother, Anna, and many brothers and sisters.’Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition, pg.

Stephen Paul Blanchet

I had seen all the war monuments in Frankford.  A few had long lists of names of those who served and died.  We have their names etched into stone, but we do not KNOW who they were.  That was when I decided to take a closer look to see what I could find out. That closer look lead me to find a total 142 men who died in service to their country.”

Stephen Paul Blanchett was born on October 20, 1947 and lived at 1813 Foulkrod Street in Frankford.  He enlisted in the Army early in 1965 and served as a corpsman. He was Killed In Action on March 7, 1967. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously.He distinguished himself by exceptional valor while serving as Medical Specialist for his unit when it came under heavy small arms fire in rice paddies northwest of Dong Tam, Vietnam, on March 7, 1967.

As the unit was maneuvering slowly through several rice paddies, they came under enemy sniper fire. Immediately, one of the unit’s leaders was hit and severely wounded. Private Blanchett, 350 meters to the rear, was notified, and began racing through the paddies in order to reach the wounded man. When he had come to within 50 meters of the casualty, he was urged by fellow comrades to go no further, due to the increasing amount of hostile fire. He courageously disregarded the warning and with fire all about him, ran to the side of the wounded man. He then pulled the wounded man behind the safety of a dike separating two paddies and administered vitally needed first aid. This courageous act was one of many times he unhesitatingly risked his life in behalf of his fellow soldiers.”

He was single and was 19 years old when he died. He is buried in the Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey.  Frankford’s American Legion Post 224 2nd floor meeting hall has been named in his honor.  He was survived by his parents, four brothers and two sisters.

Stephen’s parents were awarded his Silver Star in a ceremony at City Hall a few months later. Blanchett and Lloyd Wilson were childhood friends growing up in Frankford.  They were 2 of the 4 African American soldiers from Frankford who died in service.  It is hard to believe but it took many years for Black Americans to earn the right to fight and die for their country.  Today, the Armed Forces could not function without their participation.

Theodore “Ted” Laurer Fischer

Bob’s “Frankford Heroes” project has become very personal to him. He got to know each of these men and women by researching and hearing their stories, many times directly from family members. It becomes more personal, too, when you recognize someone from the neighborhood. Karen Mangan Lash and her husband, Cliff, were in attendance this night. Karen and I had both worked for the School District of Philadelphia and we were together in the Fairhill section of the city. Karen recognized “Ted” and told us after that she had grown up with him and it brought back many memories. We know this can be very hard for families but, to a one, they wanted them to be recognized for the sacrifice, service and courage they exhibited. And then we would hear even more stories about other Heroes. That’s why the book has grown and will continue to share examples of other Heroes we don’t even know about yet.

Theodore Lauer Fischer was born on August 15, 1943 and when his father became Rector of St. Mark’s Church, the family moved to a home on Harrison Street. He had a “Back” position on the football team at Frankford High School and a strong voice which he used in the a cappella choir. “Ted” Fischer led a very active life during his high school years. Teachers there remember the 1962 graduate as an honest, hardworking student with a dramatic flair. 

Fischer enlisted in the Marine Corps in November of 1962. Now 22-years-old and a Lance Corporal, and a radioman for Company A, of the 1st Battalion, 4th, Marines Division, died in the hamlet of Phu Bai, Quang Tri, Province, on March 20, 1966.  He was survived, by his father, Albert, Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, his mother, Elizabeth, and his sister, Barbara. He is buried in Whitemarsh Memorial Park in Ambler, Pennsylvania. 

Joseph Coyle’s Headstone
2014 and 2019

This picture tells the story. Earlier, Bob explained how he first became interested in telling the stories of these “Frankford Heroes”. As members of St. Joachim, we have a cemetery that’s over 170 years old. It is in need of restoration and upkeep as most of our smaller cemeteries in the city are. The photo on the left shows Joseph Coyle’s headstone suffered significant damage. These are the types of things we need to get repaired.

Keep the Faith in Frankford and  Holy Innocents Parish (of which St. Joachim is a Worship Site) formed The Friends of St. Joachim Cemetery. Chaired by Joe and Maureen Taylor, they have begun cleaning the cemetery, giving educational tours and collecting donations to begin some of the restoration projects – like new benches in the cemetery. They have had volunteers coming out to help them but what’s really needed now are dedicated committee members. If you would be interested in helping to plan activities and help with fundraising, etc., please contact Joe via email at joseph.m.taylor12@gmail.com, or text/call his cell at 215-360-6818. Joe’s story is also in the “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” book as well!

We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Jim Young, President, (you were sorely missed, Jim), and other Board Members Jerry Kolankiewicz, Bruce McKenzie, John Buffington, Susan Couvreur, John Hewitt, Fred Prescott and Diane Sadler who were in attendance and most helpful to us as always. Susan gathered and displayed some of the Society’s artifacts related to Veterans this evening. Thank you, Susan! They enhanced the presentation! The refreshments that follow these presentations are worth attending for sure! A double bonus! For more information about the Historical Society of Frankford, please visit their website, https://www.thehistoricalsocietyoffrankford.org/ and find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheHistoricalSocietyofFrankford/?ref=br_rs .

Enjoy the slideshow of the Presentation at The Historical Society of Frankford and also an interview with the author, Bob Smiley!! Thanks for reading! If you have any “Frankford Heroes” you would like to share with us, Bob’s email is in the next paragraph!

Interested in getting a copy of “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition” for yourself or for a Hero in your own life, please click here – Lulu. Then email gil@frankfordgazette.com to get your free ebook which contains even more details and links about our local Heroes. 

A slideshow of the November meeting at The Historical Society of Frankford!

Here is an interview that I did with Bob Smiley regarding his new book, “Frankford Heroes, 2nd Edition”!

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Mary Carroll, You Brightened Our Lives!

Photo courtesy of Tina Dambach

Sadly, we learned another of our dear friends was called home to God recently. If you’re a member of St. Joachim or if you live in the area on the corner of Church St. and Griscom St., a very special woman lived in the first floor apartment, Mary Carroll. She knew everybody even if you didn’t know her.

Mary loved God, her Church and everyone else, too. She was a member of the St. Frances de Sales Court #2617 Catholic Daughters of the Americas as well as a member of Keep the Faith in Frankford! When she attended our 8 AM Prayer Services in front of St. Joachim Church, she would always pray for “the animals, the cops, the firemen, all the people, for us and everybody have a good week!” Mary, we pray for you and we also pray for ourselves because Frankford is a little less bright these days without you! Go in peace, sweet friend!

In the Catholic Daughters’ Newsletter, a section called “Members Spotlight” highlighted Mary Carroll in 2015. Regent Tina Dambach wrote the following about Mary:

“Mary Carroll “Call Security!” That’s one of Mary’s catch phrases to ease an awkward or dicey situation or just to bring a little comic relief. Mary recently turned 70. She loves animals, especially her cat, Rocky. She misses her mother who passed away 3 years ago. Before her death, Mary’s mother was living at Chapel Manor Home and Fr. Wetzel and Fr. Large as well as others would take Mary to visit. Mary is a survivor.

It’s anonymous, but Mary has no problem letting you know she has been in A.A. and sober for 35 years as of April 26, 2015. After 5 years of sobriety, Mary came back to the Church after hearing others speak of the peace they had found. Mary joined Catholic Daughter’s because of our own Fr. Wetzel whom she refers to as “the priest” and who helped us find a lot of our members. She likes the people, the parties and helping out. Mary helps as much as she can at all our fundraisers and meetings. She has helped at Matthew 25 on distribution days and on other days she helps pack bags. Mary has also contributed food to Matthew 25. That’s just one example of her generosity.

Mary hopes to hit it big in the lottery one day, but when Mary does hit a number, she is sure to share some with the Church or another person. The thing she shares the most though is her personality. Mary is down to earth, kind, humble and serene. I only saw her get upset once and she immediately let it go. I only saw her cry once and that was the day Father announced that our parish would be merged into Holy Innocents.

She has a great sense of humor too as her, “Call Security”, phrase indicates. Mary has worked at a few different jobs. She worked in a factory until it closed up. She did cleaning at Shriner’s Hospital which used to be on the Boulevard where the kids loved her. Mary also worked for 8 years at McDonald’s before retiring. Her work ethic extended to the Church.

Mary helped at St. Joachim as a greeter and taking the Offertory gifts up and she would help do the readings at daily Mass. Mary is often chosen to take the gifts to the altar at Holy Innocents Church which she finds to be a great honor. Another way Mary shows her faith and evangelizes is by displaying prayer cards, the cross and other religious articles in the windows of her first floor apartment which is directly across from the Church. Mary also has attended prayer services in front of St. Joachim Church every week since the church was closed. She used to attend healing prayer services at St. Anne’s Church.

How lucky we are to have Mary in our court!”

PS. Many thanks to Tammy Hartenstine for providing Rocky with a new home!!

There is a GoFund Me page started by the Court St. Francis de Sales #2617 of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas for the cost of Mary’s funeral, burial and the vet costs for her cat, Rocky! Any amount will help and is most gratefully received! God bless you! https://www.gofundme.com/mary-carroll-funeral