Former Plum mayor, who helped establish borough EMS, dies
It has been nearly 25 years, but Bob Moran remembers a conversation with former Plum Mayor Al Franci as if it occurred yesterday.
“He said, ‘If I get elected, the first thing I will do is try and put an EMS together,' ” said Moran, deputy director of Plum Emergency Medical Services.
The conversation occurred around 1989. Plum EMS began operations on March 17, 1991.
Franci, Plum's mayor from 1990 to 1997, died on Nov. 22 at the age of 81.
Franci, owner of Alfred Franci Tile & Carpet Co. on Saltsburg Road in Plum, was appointed mayor in 1988 when former Mayor Tony Oblock was unable to continue serving.
When the Plum Democratic Committee didn't endorse him, he ran a successful write-in campaign.
He was elected again on the Democratic ticket four years later. Franci also served on borough council, as well as on the Plum Borough Planning Commission.
Former Plum Councilwoman Valerie Yockey, who had political differences with Franci over the years but made amends with him in 2008 during the presidential election campaign, praised the former mayor.
“Over the last 25 years, we had been in a love-hate relationship,” said Yockey who serves as chairwoman of the Plum Borough Democratic Committee.
“It was our Democratic values that pulled us together. In the end, we had mutual respect.”
Franci was a major proponent of a municipal ambulance service in Plum after his grandson, Dayne Dice, developed a fever, and when his temperature spiked, the boy stopped breathing.
The incident occurred more than 20 years ago.
Though his grandson survived, Franci worried about the ambulance response time because the two fire companies that operated services were responsible for the 29 square miles in Plum and relied on volunteers to answer calls.
Moran, who was the director of the Wilkinsburg Emergency Medical Service 20 years ago, remembers Franci's zeal for starting an ambulance service in Plum.
Franci was in attendance last month when ground was broken for a new building set to house a new ambulance base and fire station for the Renton Volunteer Fire Department.
Moran said Franci will be present in spirit when a ribbon-cutting ceremony is conducted at the new building.
“He was a good man who will be missed,” Moran said.
The Maurice L. Knee Funeral Home in Plum handled the arrangements.
The Franci family suggests memorial donations to Plum EMS, 4545 New Texas Road, Plum, PA 15239.
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or firstname.lastname@example.org.