EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WYTV) – For this week’s Hometown Hero, we got the honor of highlighting someone who is synonymous with East Liverpool and the Potters — Frank “Digger” Dawson. To learn more about what makes him a hero in others’ eyes, we spoke with two people very close to him.
“He just is Mr. East Liverpool. He’s just loved this town his whole life and he’s a lover of people,” said Belinda Dunlap, Digger’s daughter.
“He’s someone that obviously loves East Liverpool and he just wants to see it improve,” said Jimmy Joe Savage, Digger’s friend.
Twenty-five years ago, Digger and Savage became commonplace at the Potters’ football games, shooting and writing about every game.
“He would tell all of his friends, ‘This is what we’re doing,’ and they’d be all over the country,” Savage said.
He’s compiled hundreds of games and memories into two books, documenting the proud football history of the city.
“He doesn’t do it for any praise or for himself, he would never want it to be about him,” Dunlap said.
Digger is someone who knows how to bring people together to get things done no matter how big or small the task. But if you ask him, he’s just a kid from Fifth Street.
“I like to say that I was born, bred, baptized, do my banking and work at the only job I ever had on the street out here. If I go out on Sixth Street, nobody knows me, or Fourth Street,” Digger said.
“He always says that he was born, bred, baptized and the only job he’s ever had is on Fifth Street in downtown East Liverpool,” Dunlap said.
“When you sit down and compile all the things we know he got done and all the things that we don’t know he does or did, if that’s not a Hometown Hero, I don’t know what is,” Savage said.
Despite his busy schedule under the Friday night lights, Digger has always put family first.
“I can truly say the town has become my family, but Gretchen comes ahead — she’s ahead and our kids,” Digger said.
“I’m just immensely proud to be his kid,” Dunlap said.
WYTV anchor/reporter Brandon Jaces says every time he sees Digger, it feels like you’re seeing an old friend.
“I have known him maybe a year and he remembers little details about things you’ve talked about and things about you, like where you’re from and went to school. He just knows how to make a person feel special. So he’s definitely deserving of a Hometown Hero award,” Jaces said.