Those who think today’s youth are not willing to do something for the elders in the community might want to talk to 12-year-old Frank Cipolla.

On Jan. 26, the Oro Valley student heard that police were looking for his neighbor, who has Alzheimer’s and walked away from his home. Heeding the advice from his father, he went in search in the washes behind his family’s house near La Cañada Drive and Naranja Boulevard. 

Though the town’s police were already in search of the individual who had been missing, the boy thought he could help.

After a short search, Frank said he was walking along and then heard a noise. He looked in the direction of where the noise came from and saw his neighbor.

Frank had found the missing person.

He then made his way over to the man.

“He got up out of the wash and I said, ‘Are you lost?’ and he said ‘Yeah,’” Frank recalled. “I got him to follow me for a little bit, but he stopped and seemed to forget all of that.”

Frank then ran, got the police, and led them back to the man. 

Frank’s father, Frank Cipolla, told his son to help look for the man, thinking he could possibly do a better job.

“The police were looking in garages and stuff, where as Frank could go in the wash,” Frank’s father said.

Last week, his family, Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, Chief of Police Danny Sharp, along with other police officers and council members, paid Frank a surprise visit as he sat in his class taking a test.

He was given a certificate and a commemorative coin from the chief of police.

But that is not all Frank got. After helping police find the missing man, he was given numerous things from the police, including a badge that one police officers tore off his uniform.

Sharp believes that Frank is a good example of a young person getting involved with his community and understanding that he can help out, too, despite his age.

“For him to get out and help, and not say ‘well it’s not my job’ or something else is simply remarkable,” Sharp said.

He added that recognizing the youth in the community for helping out sends a good message to the other kids in his class, school and community.

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