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What's in a name?

Ybor City street honors WWII hero

Frank Adamo was captured during the Battle of Corregidor. Held prisoner, he treated wounded soldiers and developed a treatment for gangrene.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 7, 2003


Shortly after World War II, the city of Tampa honored war hero and native son Frank Adamo by renaming First Avenue in Ybor City after him. A fitting tribute, no doubt, but the city was late to the punch.

Adamo was already given the Legion of Merit, one of the nation's highest honors, three years earlier in 1943. Adamo had yet to return home. In fact, he was still locked up in a Japanese prison camp.

Adamo was born in 1893 in Ybor City to Sicilian immigrants. Before he was a teenager, he traveled to Chicago to work in cigar factories and further his education. He graduated from the University of Chicago and received his medical degree from Rush Medical Institute in Chicago.

Adamo returned to Ybor City in 1920 to practice medicine. Before serving as a surgeon in World War II, he would be named medical director of the Centro Asturiano, and then the county's medical director.

Adamo was captured by the Japanese in the Philippines during the Battle of Corregidor. Held prisoner, he treated wounded soldiers and developed a treatment for gangrene. His discovery saved countless lives and netted him the Legion of Merit.

After the war, Adamo returned to Tampa to a hero's welcome. He retired from his medical practice in 1975, and died in 1988 at age 95.

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