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Benjamin's on Franklin

Benjamin's on Franklin photo by Robert Taylor

Benjamin's on Franklin
photo by Robert Taylor

My name is Frank Panzetta and I am the Director of Human Resource at St, Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Syracuse, New York.  I am also a team member of Operation Walk Syracuse 2012 – Panama.  This year I will be joining Kim Murray and Doctors Brett and Seth Greenky and a host of other professional staff as we travel to Panama.  The trip is scheduled for November 6th thru November 16th, 2012.  My blog will attempt to explore and deliver the events and sights as we prepare for and complete, our journey.

Benjamin’s – Armory Square Gorgeous August night in Syracuse, and the perfect evening for a fantastic fund-raiser.  Benjamin’s in Armory Square was all decked out to host Passport to Panama 2012.  

The room was filled with guests who are traveling to Panama themselves, supporters, friends, and contributors.

Armed with a pen and paper in one hand, and a cold beer in the other, (not an easy feat) I made my way around to mingle with the guests…

Chatted a bit with Nick Falcone and Joe Rainone, owners of Benjamin’s.  Both guys were very excited to be hosting their second event for Operation Walk Syracuse,  They have been involved since the beginning, and hosted a similar event last for Nepal.  I asked them how they both got involved and they connected me to Joel Shapiro, owner of Mister Shop (Sp?) a quality men’s clothing store in Armory Square, also a supporter of the event.  It gave me a sense that this is how the fire catches and continues to spread, individual folks coming together sharing a common goals.

Joe Rainone happens to be close friends with Mike Tremont, attorney from Costello Cooney and Fearon, who was there with colleague Buster Melvin.  Both gentleman provide legal council to Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists.  I know both of these men well as they provide me with equally excellent legal advice, when necessary, when I am working my day job.

Spent some time catching up with folks from Post –Central, the advertising agency providing the advertising material for Panama 2012.  The restaurant was nicely decorated with life-sized wall posters of the Passport to Panama Event.  On hand were Armando Delgallego, Jeff Zielinski and Lisa Smith (finally an easy name to spell! J),  All three were excited to be part of the event and were looking forward to rolling our more advertising material in the weeks to come.

I caught up with Paul Heitzman, from, Bennett and Heitzman, an architectural firm that works closely with SOS, and is a supporter of the Operation Walk events.  Here began a little theme as we caught up with each other’s lives….seems like several of the guests I chatted with, like myself, were of the age where their children were starting to venture out on their own either into college or beyond... all reflected on the “circle of life” as they began to see it unfold in their own lives.

Bambi Malone, Fran Gozzi and Gloria Alexander, (all employees of St. Joseph’s) and Lynne Basil (former St. Joseph’s, current SOS) were there to celebrate as well.  The growing year’s theme continued here as we talked about high school, college and beyond... like the typical parents, we couldn't help but reminisce that for us... it only felt like yesterday.

Had a great time chatting with Dr. Richard Heir and his wife Marilyn.  Both had been to Nepal, and were very excited about the trip to Panama.  I must say both did a fantastic job of welcoming this new comer to the process and the people.  They really went out of their way making sure I was introduced to folks who I would be seeing and working with on the trip.  Marilyn warned that depending on the staffing levels, I may be working on more than I bargained for!  She was kidding... I think!.

Spent a little time with Chuck Wainwright and his wife Mary Beth. Chuck was the embedded photographer on the Nepal trip, and contributes the photography for all the local events.  Since I’ll be the one traveling to Panama, Chuck offered his expertise and advice as I prepare to go.  Of course I won’t be able to completely take his place behind the camera lens, but hopefully he can give me enough advice to make things special.  He already started.  First he is going to help me select the right camera.  Second, he suggested…..”bring the viewer an angle they might not normally see.” Good stuff?  Right? And third.

And this last piece of advice was repeated by Chuck, his wife, and Senior Vice President of St. Joseph’s Mary Brown, ”Get into the operating room before the trip!”  All three referenced the importance of not only thinking you know what you are going to be seeing, but actually making sure that you have seen it prior to the trip!  Sound advice, right?  I would hate to have the only shots from the Operating Room be of the ceiling, after I fainted and hit the floor!

Met up with fellow St. Joseph’s staffers and Panama trippers... Tammi Walker, Colleen Lupia, Trisha Dobe, Meghan Hickey, Paul Crescenzi, Harriet Taylor and Jennifer Johnstone!  All looking forward to November!  Jennifer found out about my assignment to blog the trip, and graciously bought me a lapel pin to encourage my efforts!

The evening closed for me with a great conversation with Ryan Clapper.  Who is very excited about his new role at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and of course is a strong supporter of Operation Walk!  His passion and enthusiasm that he shared for his new role, is the same passion and excitement one gets from the entire team.

Everybody talked about the teamwork, commoraderre, cooperation and collaboration that they experienced in Nepal and anticipate for Panama.

82 Days until departure and counting...

Frank Panzetta