Henry W. Papa, one of five to be inducted into the Cranston Hall of Fame Oct. 21, has strong ties to Warwick having served as the Ward 8 Councilman from 1968 to 1976.
But it’s his military career that the Cranston Hall of Fame Foundation has chosen to highlight. The foundation was created in 1980 to recognize graduates of Cranston public schools who have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their chosen field. The induction ceremony and dinner will be held on Oct. 21 at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick.
Papa graduated from Cranston High School in 1953. He has distinguished himself as a United States military career officer, senior airline pilot and public servant. In addition to graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering, Papa was also commissioned Ensign in the United States Navy, thus beginning a career in the United States military lasting for 55 years.
Papa completed flight training at the Pensacola Naval Air Station and served five years active duty as a carrier-based attack/fighter pilot aboard the USS Midway during the Vietnam Conflict. He was also assigned as the USS Midway landing officer. Papa transferred to the Air Force Reserve and held commands of increasing responsibility. Assignments included duty as administrative officer in the Navy and Air Force, personnel officer, legal office and training. Many military awards have been conferred upon Henry, which include the Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Citation, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. In 1978, Papa was honored as the Air Force Reserve Officer of the Year. For 51 years, Papa has assisted with the Blue and Gold Program for the United States Naval Academy and Liaison Officer of the United States Air Force Academy and mentor for 24 area high schools.
A Captain with Pan American World Airways/Delta Airlines, Captain Papa has more than 35,000 flight hours including 20,000 hours of command time. Papa has been a member of the Airline Pilots Association since 1965. He is also a member of the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association, Air Force Association, BPOE Elks, Navy League, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Knights of Columbus, Tail Hook Association and is the executive director of the Mobile (AL) Area Sports Commission.
Papa has a great passion for soccer. He served as a player, coach, official and administrator to the sport for 63 years and has received many awards, including the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Recognition Award, National Soccer Hall of Fame Award, and was included into the City of Mobile, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Papa is an accomplished public speaker on the subjects of aviation, soccer youth and politics. He is also author of a widely published article on the theme “Keep Kids in Sports and You’ll Keep Them Out of Courts.” Married to former Theresa Hagendorfer, they have five children. Son Henry Jr. graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1986, daughter Terri Ann Stephans graduated from Spring Hill College, daughter Michelle Clays graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1988, and son Patrick graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1991. Between Henry Sr. and his family, they have accumulated more than 182 years of military service to the country.
Also to be inducted on Oct. 21 are: Dr. Robert K. Andren, Ph.D of Coventry, RI, biotechnology operations management, capital facilities development for Amgen Corporation; Dr. Shelia M. Andrew, Ph.D of Willington, Conn., associate professor at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Connecticut, research and outreach in dairy industry; Vin Di Bona of Los Angeles, Calif., television executive producer/director, innovator of comedic reality programming, trustee of Newport Music Festival as well as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for Emerson College, and Mark Saccoccio, NCARB, AIA of Smithfield, principal of Saccoccio & Associates of Cranston, R.I. a full service architectural and design company, recognized for design excellence locally and nationally, extensive leadership role with YMCA and Rotary Club as well as other charitable organizations.
Tickets to the induction dinner are $35 per person and may be ordered from the Foundation by calling Ms. Ann Volatile, secretary, at 401-942-9308.