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Big fanfare for Frank Sidari on his 90th birthday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 15 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Albion resident served in WWII, also long-time Scoutmaster

Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Members of the Patriot Guard present a plaque to Frank Sidari, a World War II veteran, during a party for his 90th birthday today at St. Mary’s Athletic Club.

The Patriot Guard wrote on the plaque that Sidari is “a True American Hero.” He was an infantryman and rifleman, part of the last mounted calvary in World War II. He served from 1943 to 1946 in the 124th Calvary in the China-Burma-India Theater.

He was awarded the Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, American Service Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.

About 30 members of the Patriot Guard stood outside at attention and welcomed Sidari out of the car when he entered the St. Mary’s Club.

Sidari said it was an “overwhelming” feeling to see the Patriot Guard out with the American flags.

His wife Jane couldn’t believe the impact of the Patriot Guard, a group of motorcyclists. She praised them for standing out in the cold before moving inside to give her husband the plaque.

“It’s wonderful,” she said at the party for her husband of 67 years. “I get tears in my eyes. I can’t believe it.”

St. Mary’s was packed for the party in honor of Frank Sidari.

Sidari worked as a union carpenter after his service in the war. He also was an Albion code enforcement officer.

He was a Boy Scout as a kid and was an active Scoutmaster for more than 30 years. Members of Troop 164 also attended Sidari’s birthday party and thanked him for his service.

“He has truly lived the Scout Oath his entire life,” said Tom Madejski, the current Scoutmaster. “He has always been a friend to everyone. That is why so many people are here.”

Frank Sidari has his photo taken with Boy Scouts in Troop 164. He has been a long-time volunteer with the troop.

About 200 people attended the party for Sidari. His son, Mike, had hoped maybe 100 to 125 people would show up to see his father.

The Patriot Guard was a big surprise. Steve Coville, a member of the local VFW, invited the Patriot Guard to Albion for Sidari’s party.

The motorcyclists sang “Happy Birthday” to Sidari when he arrived at St. Mary’s.

Mike Sidari said his father is humble and doesn’t like to talk about his war experiences. He has joked about the mounted calvalry having to ride mules instead of horses.

“We just wanted to celebrate his life and all of his accomplishments in life,” Mike said.

Frank Sidari is pictured with his three sons. In back, from left: Bruce, Mike and Frank.

Sidari has been active with the VFW for many years, attending regular monthly meetings. He often advocated for vetetrans and local Boy SCouts. Sidari liked to tell the Post what Eagle Scout projects were in the works.

The local Strickland Post in Albion thanked Sidari for his many years of service to the country and community. “Your continuous cooperation and participation has always been a source of pride and inspiration to all of us,” according to a plaque from the VFW.

Matt Passarell, a past VFW commander in Albion, was among the many well-wishers who visited Sidari at his party this afternoon.

“I’m glad we could be here because he’s been a part of the community for a long time,” Passarell said. “It’s the least we could do.”

Sidari has also been an active member of the Holy Family Catholic Parish. He and his wife has three sons, eight grandchildren and nine great-chandchildren.

Frank Sidari blows out a candle on his 90th birthday cake.