The Wrecking Crew

Frank Caramico has been lifting for fifty-two years. There’s no doubt where his passion lies. He’s competed as an Olympic and powerlifter and was head coach for team USA at three world championships. He’s held the sub-master national deadlift record of 540 lbs. in the 242lb class in the American Drug-free Powerlifting Association. Coach Frank and three friends started the Wrecking Crew in 1978. Over the years it grew into the largest drug free team in the United States, at one time with over fifty registered athletes.

On July 6, 2013… things changed.

Coach Frank Caramico

A motorcycle accident claimed Coach Frank’s left leg below the knee, fractured his femur, hip, and shoulder. Doctors had to rebuild his left calf by removing his left lat and building a new calf muscle. If his body wasn’t as strong as it was from all the years of lifting he’d have died on the scene.

Knowing how to train and deal with pain through all his years of lifting, Coach Frank has been able to mount a remarkable comeback. While he walks with a limp…he walks. He was out of the hospital three months after the accident and was back in the gym the next day, proving the power of your attitude, determines your altitude. You can give in or you can choose to fight. You can be a victim or a victor. You can be a sheep or a lion.

Coach Frank is lion, fighter, and warrior. For him there is no finish line. Nor is there a finish line for any of the athletes of the Wrecking Crew, who carrying out his determination for greatness in mind, body and spirit.

Back row: Liberty Buccello, Linda Shuler. Front Row: Dawn Salzillo, Linda Strong-Denerly, Jill Neziri

It was my friend Dawn Salzillo who brought me into the fitness world. I worked out at her house with another friend, Linda Shuler, and some friend’s of Dawn’s doing light toning and cardio.  Later, we met Jill Neziri and learned she was a powerlifter. Dawn invited her over to show us a few powerlifting moves one day.  From that point on, I was beyond fascinated by the sport. I fell in love.  I began lifting on a regular basis with Jill,  with the aim of training for competitions. When I  my friend Liberty  Buccello expressed an interest in powerlifting too, so she joined me with Jill.  The group grew from there to include a few of the youth from our church and we now compete as a team.

For me, lifting is about competing against yourself. Something I’ve  been doing all my life… though in drastically different ways. Growing up with cerebral palsy made life a daily competition with myself, my esteem, and with the bullies of the world who sought to knock me down. I overcame as an adult, but here was a sport that would challenge me in ways I had never challenged myself before and, as you will read on the blog, helped me become a lion, fighter and warrior too.

The Wrecking Crew, January 2017




2 thoughts on “The Wrecking Crew”

  1. I have been blessed to know linda for a fews months, in fifty two years of lifting I have never known a stronger fighter then her… And thats saying something..She cries when she gets to the platform.. but they are tears of determination and pride…She is a warrior indeed…She is the living example of what the Wrecking Crew is all about…. Out of all the hundreds of lifters that I have been blessed to know and coach, there has been no one tougher….GODS love and mine are with you babe…. NO FINISH LINE…Coach Frank

    Liked by 1 person

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