My friend Synnove Bakke, who is one of the best legislative aides in the NJ Legislature (yes, one of the 'good guys') alerted me to a story about a Marine Corps veteran who has been given only a few more months on this Earth.

The word hero gets thrown around a lot these days. Sadly, it loses a lot of meaning when applied to every difficult circumstance. But there are some true heroes left. Marine Corps Veteran, Sgt. Dick Frank from South Plainfield is one of them.

Synnove shared a story passed along by Dick's grandson. Here's the preview he sent to Synnove:

"In the cover of darkness, pop and an agent went to Charles De Gaulle airport dressed as college students. Pop had a boot strap .38 special with USMC issued ammunition, approximately 50 rounds in his pocket. His K-bar on his other leg. The took off and parachuted into Budapest, Hungary in the cover of darkness. They hid their parachutes and made their way to rendezvous with a Catholic priest at a chapel where the priest was holding a defecting Russian agent with intel. Pop and the agent using the help of the Hungarian underground, made it to the border of Algeria where they were to exfiltrate and conclude their mission without any loss of life on either side. Unfortunately, that was not the result. When they arrived where their exfiltration point was, they encountered Algerian soldiers. Pop was approached by a man intent on ending his life with a curved Arabic sword to Dicks neck. Pop drew his .38 and pulled the trigger in the man's face. He has flashbacks to this day about the encounter. The agent and pop eliminated all the combatants and carried out their mission. This happed around 1957/1958."

- Sgt. Dick Frank's grandson, reported by Synnove Bakke.

Sgt. Frank served as a councilman in South Plainfield, director of MVC in South Plainfield and as Marine Corps League commander of Post 243 Chaumont.

Friends are encouraged to stop by the Middlesex County Fair on Saturday, Aug. 7 to say goodbye. Sgt. Franks doctors have only given him a few months to live. Hopefully you can stop by and honor this American hero as he prepares to depart this world. There aren't many real heroes left so let's honor the ones who are still with us.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2021

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue.