Created on Sunday, 09 December 2012 Written by SUE PITTS
Two longtime state park officials were recognized with a lengthy standing ovation as they accepted retirement honors from the Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce during its annual dinner meeting Saturday evening at the Indian Lake Moose Lodge.
Retired Indian Lake State Park Manager Frank Giannola, tells on himself three decades after one of his first acts as a park ranger, with retired assistant park manager Joe Moran looking on. The two were recognized for 33 and 35 years of state park service, respectively, during the Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner Saturday at the Indian Lake Moose Lodge.
Frank Giannola, right, remarks on the exemplary service and his admiration for the retiring assistant state park manager Joe Moran, left.
Joe Moran, left, cracks wise about the recognition of his retirement as assistant state manager during the Indian Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner Saturday. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | SUE PITTS)
Taking into consideration imminent modifications to the state employee retirement system, retired Indian Lake State Park Manager Frank Giannola said, “It’s best for us to go now. We will regret not working with (fellow Indian Lake park staff and the community), but we’re not going to be bitter about it.
“All the speculation (on the reassignment) ... That does not bother me,” he affirmed on behalf of his assistant manager, Joe Moran.
For reasons still unknown, both were unexpectedly reassigned to other state parks in March, but insist they bear no hard feelings.
Speaking emotionally of his longtime friend and right-hand man, Mr. Giannola said he was in awe of Mr. Moran’s three and a half decades of exemplary service.
“If he was asked for directions to campground (while he was out and about), Joe wouldn’t give them directions. He would take them to the park. And he’d set up their tent for them. He may even have made them dinner, I don’t know,” he quipped.
And then he candidly shared a story about himself he said he’s only ever shared with his closest friends about one of his first acts as a park ranger, a lengthy foot pursuit of a man through some rough terrain.
He gained on his target and went for his gun, but it wasn’t in his holster. So he backtracked several yards, retrieved the weapon and continued on his mission.
Exhausted from carrying an extra 50 pounds of gear during the chase, he said he finally got close enough to the man and drew his weapon, identified himself as an officer with a gun and threatened to shoot, “just like they taught me in the academy, right?” Much to his surprise, the man was nearly naked and invited, "'shoot me.'"
“Well, I couldn’t shoot a naked man,” he admitted, and the man continued to flee when he lowered his gun. “(The academy) didn’t prepare me for that,” he joked to applause and laughs.
Chamber Executive Director Pam Miller described the pair as her “right and left hands” when it came to making events work around the lake, noting the unwavering devotion of both to help make area events successful.
“Now both hands are gone,” she said regretfully. She continued, without their help events such as the Party at the Beach would not have been possible, nor as profitable, noting the most recent event cleared $25,000 in profit.
“We could not have done it without them,” she affirmed. “They will be missed,” a sentiment echoed throughout a supportive Indian Lake community.