Resident turns trash into treasure to help Highland Athletes

by Chris Studor

If you’ve ever visited the social media site, Hinckley Ohio Discuss It, it’s likely that you’ll see someone bidding Frank Oriti to pick up their unwanted scrap metal knowing the proceeds will go to a good cause – Highland Athletic Teams.

Oriti began collecting nonferrous scrap metal (metal which does not contain iron) on a small scale about four years ago with requests for pickups growing quickly enabling Oriti to donate thousands of dollars to various Highland athletic programs every year.

This humble man whose generosity flourishes, has been named Hinckley’s 2023 Citizen of the Year.

Frank Oriti has been named 2023 Hinckley Citizen of the Year. He will be honored at the May 2 trustee meeting with his portrait hung in the meeting room at the Hinckley Town Hall.

Oriti, who moved to Hinckley from Parma in 2021, has always been self-employed as the owner of Mars Trucking. The trucking company’s success earned Oriti the honor of being named one of Crain’s Cleveland Business’ top 40 under 40 in 2005. He was just 39 years of age at the time.

Orti said he believes a key to his business success is hiring salaried drivers with benefits, rather than farming out jobs to individual contractors. He said this approach provides a reliable and dedicated staff and in turn, customers know their merchandise will arrive on time.

“I am a big believer that hard work pays off,” said Oriti. “But as far as my scrap collecting, that success belongs to the people of Hinckley who support me. Through Hinckley Ohio Discuss It, I get requests from people who have unwanted scrap. So, after a day at work, I often find myself driving out to someone’s home to collect anything from old washing machines to old metal barrels.”

His right hand men are members of the Highland High School wrestling team, which includes his son, Joey. If it’s a big load, the wrestling team provides the muscle power to load the truck.

Oriti has served as a youth wrestling coach and is quick to give a helping hand to Highland’s team. His daughter, Chloe, is a Highland cheerleader. Oriti and his wife, Christine, are longtime supporters of the Highland Hornets.

As member of the Hinckley’s Citizen of the Year Committee, Trustee Melissa Augustine credits Orti for taking it upon himself to pick up unwanted scrap to benefit the Highland Schools sports and activities.

“He picks up and hauls the scrap free of charge to benefit the wrestling, football, softball, rugby and cheerleading teams, as well as other school activities,” she said. “At other fundraisers, you can find him cooking and bringing coolers and tables. He is one of the few people who expressed interest in maintaining the township’s Senior Snow Plow program. He is a man of great integrity who has a serving heart and will go above and beyond for anyone that experiences need.”

Orti said his generosity is “all about the kids.”

“If you don’t step in, there won’t be sports or activities for future generations,” said Oriti. “People in the Hinckley community are right there supporting me – for example, Western Reserve Heating and Cooling donates all their old hot water heaters. Recently, I hauled old 130-pound drums from the Highland bus garage. I have helped empty out old barns and just about anything metal someone doesn’t want anymore.”

When Oriti is not busy with work and scrap collecting for Highland athletics, he is busy working on and racing stock cars, having won 200 races in cars he still works on himself. He spent many years racing super stock cars at the Lorain and Cloverleaf speedways and is a member of the Cloverleaf Speedway Hall of Fame.

Oriti was featured in the Hinckley Record in 2009 in a super stock car he built himself. Like all his cars, on the back of the car is written; “Hinckley, Home of the Buzzards.”

“Having started the scrap-collecting venture about four years ago, I feel its success is due to the community which embraced my efforts,” said Oriti. “It is really touching how much the community has supported me, and really, it’s the Hinckley community that should be named Citizen of the Year.”

As Citizen of the Year, Oriti will be honored at the May 2 trustee meeting. He will be make an appearance in the township’s Memorial Day parade, driving his truck and trailer with members of the wrestling team, who plan to throw candy into the crowd.

Orti’s portrait will be hung in the township hall main meeting room this year and will then take its’ place with former Citizen-of-the-Year portraits in the township hallway of recognition.

Those who have unwanted nonferrous scrap metal are asked to contact Oriti through the Hinckley Ohio Facebook page. ∞

Featured Photo: Frank Oriti collects loads of unwanted scrap metal through the Facebook page, Hinckley Ohio Discuss It, and cashes it in to fund a variety of Highland Athletics needs, including a new mat for the wrestling team. Photos by Chris Studor