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30 Years Later, The Mims-Manoa Football Camp Seeks To Continue Impacting Young Lives In Warren


Nick Frankos sits in his restaurant, The Buena Vista Cafe, to discuss the legacy of the Mims-Manoa Camp.


A 1981 alum of Warren G. Harding High School, Nick Frankos is known not just throughout the Mahoning Valley, but across the entire state of Ohio for his restaurant, the Buena Vista Cafe. His signature "Greek fried chicken" is among many menu items that have left a great taste in the mouths of many that have patronized his business over the years.


Besides the pleasant aroma of the food, one of the things that customers instantly notice when they walk into BV is Frankos' love for the game of football as jerseys, helmets, and a replica of Harding's field on the ceiling proudly displays his passion for the game. Thirty years ago, he began preaching his knowledge of not only the game, but navigating life in general to children at his football camp that was founded by him, former Cleveland Browns fullback Tim Manoa, and their late friend, Dominic “Mims” Massary.



1990 photo of then-Cleveland Browns fullback Tim Manoa diving into the end zone in the AFC Championship Game vs. the Denver Broncos. Manoa is one of the co-founders of the Mims-Manoa Camp.


"I had no idea that it was going to go on for this long," Frankos said of his camp. "We just wanted to do something for the kids because they are the most important aspect of our community."


In 1994, the Mims-Manoa camp was born. Sadly, Massary never got to see it progress as he passed away on March 5, 1995. However, his legacy continues to carry on three decades later as Frankos and Manoa strive to make their presence felt in the lives of the area's youth.


"Years ago, Timmy and I were sitting in Echo Lanes with Mr. Massary and he goes, 'Won't you guys do a football camp?'" Frankos recalled. "It's sad because as we started to get rolling, he passed away, so he never got to see it grow.



Photo of the late Dominic “Mims” Massary, for whom the camp is named after.


"When we first started, we had Coach John Teerkink, who has since passed away. He coached with the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and a few others. Coach (Thomas) Zambelli was there, God rest his soul to. A lot of these guys are gone now, but we continue to move forward and carry on their legacies as well."


While the deaths of some of the original crew left a huge hole in Frankos' heart, he remains grateful for the ones who are still here.


"Coach Mike Zordich was at the first one and thank God he's still around doing his thing," Frankos added. "Coach Tommy Turner, T, was huge with how he did things at the camp. He'd bring in guys from the Browns to speak with over 300 kids, so we were blessed to start out strong and grow the way that we did."


Frankos knows that football doesn't last forever, so he's always implemented life lessons into his camps so that he can help instill responsible qualities into the youth.


"We started having the Warren City Police Department, drug task force, the Sheriff, and guys like that come in and talk to the kids," Frankos said. "We want them to see, know, and respect these professions in the community because these are the ones responsible for helping and protecting them. We want them to be responsible, respectful, and to feel safe at all times."


After being around for so long, Frankos gets a lot of joy out of seeing kids grow up to become responsible adults. At the end of the day, that is one of the ultimate goals of the camp.


"It's amazing to see," Frankos said of seeing his former campers over the years. "We've got grown men coming in here for some food and many have expressed their appreciation for what the camp taught them. Knowing that we made a great impression on their lives is very rewarding."


After a short hiatus, the Mims-Manoa camp will resume tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10 for those in grades 7 thru 12. It will run thru Harding's football's practice from 5:15 PM til 8 PM. For newly hired head football coach Matt Richardson, he's glad to know that the camp will continue to have a huge impact on today's youth.


"It’s a a momentous occasion when you are celebrating thitry years of supporting student athletes," Richardson said. "Nick Francos and Tim Minoa carried this legacy over the years and deserved to recognized and celebrated for their dedication and service to the community."

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