2022 Jefferson Award Finalist Profile: Frank Grillo
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Frank Grillo is a gunsmith and volunteer for the Wyoming Hunting With Heroes program. Frank not only volunteers his time to the program but also donates guns that he has built to help raise money for the veterans experiences. Frank brings these guns to raffles and events all over the state.
Mr. Grillo started working with Hunting With Heroes after a friend had taken him on a hunting trip when he got back from serving overseas. Frank is a veteran himself and served three tours of duty in Iraq as a a combat medic.
“I went to Baghdad, Ramadi, Al Kut, some of the worst places. I always preferred to stay on the front lines if possible and I spent the majority of my time as a medic with the tank column,” Frank Said.
His work with Hunting With Heroes helps him to continue to save lives of fellow servicemen in the U.S. Although many of the people he works with are citizens of Casper and Wyoming, he has also helped military vets from around the country. The program pays for everything except their travel and this service helps to remind Frank of why he does this work.
Mr. Grillo said, “We put them up, we feed them and we take them hunting, and sometimes that’s a life changing experience. For me it was a life changing experience a long time ago and that’s something I like translating to other people.”
Erin Mankin, who is responsible for nominating Frank for the Jefferson Award, recalled her first meeting with Mr. Grillo and why she found him to be a deserving candidate.
Erin said, “When I first met Frank it was very clear that he was very passionate about the work that he does. He’s a veteran himself and he pours his heart into everything that he does and wants to help the veterans in our community. He’s just an inspiration to everybody he meets.”
The guns Frank builds for hunting with heroes go to raffles to help raise money for these special hunts. These hunts usually aren’t cheap but the guns that Mr. Grillo builds and donates help cover a lot of costs.
“It costs us anywhere from $500 to $2,500 to take a veteran hunting and that can get really expensive. Last year we took 276 veterans across the state of Wyoming,” Said Frank.
We will be speaking to three more Jefferson Award Finalists this month and to catch the next interview watch at 5:00 or 10:00 on Monday May 16.
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