Karolyn “Zuzu” Grimes will present the 15th Annual George Bailey Award to Fred Capozzi at 10AM on Saturday, December 8th as part of the It’s a Wonderful Life Weekend. The ceremony will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 27 Fall Street, Seneca Falls. Everyone is encouraged to attend, especially those whose lives have been touched by Fred Capozzi and his wife, Denise.
Fred Capozzi was born and raised in Seneca Falls, along with his identical twin brother Frank and his older sister Marie. His mother Margaret, now 92 years old, is from Seneca Falls and his father Frank was from Geneva.
Fred recalls: “I wanted to be a police officer since I was about twelve years old and I was able to fulfill that here.” Fred worked for the Seneca Falls Police Department for 40 years. He was the youngest person to ever become Seneca Falls’ Chief of Police. Although he had offers to work elsewhere, he chose to stay in Seneca Falls. He always says: “Me working in Seneca Falls is my way of giving back to the community that has been so good to me.”
Bob McKeveny, a close friend, comments: “Fred embodies the personal characteristics of George Bailey. He is always willing to do great things for his hometown of Seneca Falls, which he loves dearly. He is always willing to give of his time to help others; those that he knows and those that he does not know. He is kind, caring, friendly to everybody and has a positive attitude towards everything and everybody. He is a great ambassador for Seneca Falls and has helped make his hometown a great place to live, work and visit.”
Fred Capozzi currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way, the National Center for Rural Law Enforcement and The Seneca Falls It’s a Wonderful Life Museum. He was previously on the Board of the Seneca Falls Historical Society. He is a member of the SMS and Rotary Club and volunteers for numerous organizations. He presents programs on a variety of subjects and acts as a tour guide for groups visiting Seneca Falls.
During the It’s a Wonderful Life Festival you will see Fred transporting the actors from the film to different events, coordinating the Bedford Falls Express Shuttle, working at the United Way Pancake Breakfast and coordinating the Tour of Historic Homes.
According to Fran Barbieri, Executive Director of the Seneca Falls Historical Society: “He probably has the kindest, sweetest heart there is. He’s so reliable . . . and the best part is that he’s part of a package – with him comes his wife Denise.”
In nominating her husband for the award, Denise Capozzi wrote: “Fred, like George Bailey, values his family. He is a loving son, father and most importantly husband. He is proud of his community and the people he grew up with. Fred is a leader, family man, loyal, dependable, a good friend and most importantly a caring man – just like George Bailey. He is my George Bailey!!”
In reflecting on his life, Fred Capozzi says: “I am blessed to have my two sons, Aaron and Adam, who is married to Kelly, but truly blessed that I have my wife. She’s my angel. She’s my Mary Bailey. She has kept me grounded. When you marry your best friend, it makes it that much easier because you don’t have to learn their likes and dislikes. At this point in our lives we could live anywhere, but there’s no place else we want to live – this is a wonderful place.”
Immediately following the ceremony, bells will be placed on the “Bailey Bridge” in honor of Fred Capozzi and the recipients of the George Bailey Award for the last 14 years: Bob McKeveny (2004), Jane Cook (2005), Bob Branciforte (2006), Dave Swenson (2007), Doug & Susan Avery (2008), Menzo Case (2009), Anita Avedutti Fitzgerald (2010), Sam and Dorothy Dickieson (2011), Dick Laude (2012), The Angelo Sandroni Family (2013), Steve Van Kirk (2014), Barbara Reese & Debbie Barbieri (2015), the SMS (2016), and Reg and Andy Batty (2017).
The George Bailey Award was created by the IDEA Center for the Voices of Humanity in 2004 to honor an individual who embodies the spirit of George Bailey by consistently contributing to the lives of his/her neighbors and without whom Seneca Falls would be a very different place. The IDEA Center is also the location for The Seneca Falls It’s a Wonderful Life Museum.
For more information, please call 568-5838.