Person of the Year 2012

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“It was in my dad’s senior year, in 1944, when he read about the Battle of the Bulge and American prisoners who were caught and killed,” said Famularo’s son, Dom Jr., a drummer and a motivational speaker. “This drove him to quit school and enlist.” Asked about his father’s experiences in the war, Dom Jr. was lighthearted: “He never saw a gun, so he never shot one.”

Once he realized that Famularo had never received a diploma, Schoen used his encyclopedic knowledge of educational statutes to ensure the graduation was made official. “I was aware,” he explained, “that those students who left school to enlist during a time of war are entitled, under the Regents regulations, to receive a diploma from their high school.” Schoen sought the help of Baldwin’s assistant superintendent of instruction, James Scannell, to arrange for Famularo to become the last member of his class to graduate along with the class of 2012.

Famularo’s much younger fellow graduates embraced their most senior senior, outfitting him with a white plastic student ID and inviting him to the prom, and Famularo, of course, beamed proudly throughout his graduation ceremony.

“He set high education standards on his own,” his son said. “Finally getting his BHS diploma made him feel complete at 85!”

High school graduate, firehouse hero, Memorial Day parade grand marshal — the list of accolades Famularo has collected continues to grow. And yet the man who has attracted all this attention is still the same humble fellow who spent many happy years running a service station at the intersection of Smith and Grand with his brothers Barney and Sal.

“Baldwin has been my father’s focus,” said Dom Jr. “Helping his country and the community is just in his blood. This is his message: Get a full education and motivate yourself to be self-empowered. Then start helping others.”

The Herald congratulates Famularo on his achievements, and is proud to name him our 2012 Person of the Year.

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