Wise People Said: Bob and Sue Fratino

Posted On: Monday, 30 January 2023

The title of their show tells the story of their commitment to veterans and their families.
Since 2017, Bob and Sue Fratino have hosted a weekly radio show called They Sacrificed for Us in Willoughby, Ohio, near Cleveland. 
The show focuses on the valor of the military and the support available for those who served. Its guests have shared their stories about veterans and groups that assist them and their families, including leaders of the American Legion Auxiliary. 
Sue, the daughter of an Ohio National Guard veteran, is the president of ALA Ohio Unit 214. Bob, the son of an Army veteran, is commander of the Sons of the American Legion Ohio Squadron 214.
The Fratinos’ show airs each Tuesday at 8 p.m. Eastern time on WINT radio, at 1330 AM or 101.5 FM in the Cleveland area and streaming online from anywhere at wintradio.com.
To watch the show live or view recordings of prior episodes, visit the show on Facebook at Facebook.com/theysacrificedforusradioshow.  
How did the show originate?
Sue: Somebody at my [ALA] unit was looking to do a show. I looked into it, and we received a call to go to the radio station and just talk to them. I think Bob and I were both scared to death.
Bob: It was very interesting, to say the least. They came up to us and said, “OK, go in there, and pretend like you’re doing a show.” That was the longest half-hour. You’re trying to pick a topic and talk about it, and you don’t realize that it’s really hard. 
What is your goal for the show?
Sue: We are just trying to pay it forward. We’ve had some phenomenal guests on the show, not only veterans but also organizations that help with veterans. We want to let veterans know what is available, and there are so many organizations we didn’t even know existed until the radio show.
Bob: One of the really cool things is when we get a guest on the show, and they say, “Hey, you should talk to this person.” You get that snowball effect, finding people who can provide assistance to a veteran who’s looking for housing or things of that nature. Getting to know these amazing people from organizations or the veterans themselves is what drives us to keep going until they tell us we can’t do it anymore.
Who’s been your favorite guest?
Sue: I think the most exciting guest was the Tuskegee Airman [Col. Harold Brown] who joined us. Who would have thought in my lifetime that I would have spoken with somebody who was such a part of history, and the things that he had to go through to become a pilot? Nothing was going to stop this man from serving our country. 
Bob: We’ve had so many amazing guests, but the Tuskegee Airman stands out because of his experiences and everything he had to go through. We also have a lot of repeat guests, like Debby Kocsis, who’s with the Daughters of the American Revolution and its project Wreaths Across America. It’s an outstanding program in its own right. 
What’s your advice to others thinking of starting something new to support a cause like honoring veterans?
Bob: Use every resource you possibly can to find the direction you want to take. There are so many great people who are so knowledgeable who you can use as resources to reach out and ask questions. When we first started, we had so many questions about what we should do and how we should approach this, but we used the resources within our own community to move our agenda forward.
Sue: Don’t be afraid to try. In the beginning, I would think that we failed. But you’re going to learn from anything you do. I had somebody tell me once that even on your worst day, you can take away 10% and learn from that.

By Trisha Turner

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.