As a young boy, there was little that Stephen T. Banko III ’63 wanted more than to pull a Bishop Timon jersey over his head. Without even realizing it, it was those years wearing the Timon green that gave him the wherewithal to emerge from trials and tough times stronger and resolved to help others along that journey.
Steve Banko '64 visits with students at Timon's radio station, WTSJ.
Banko is a member of both The John Timon Society and the Athletic Hall of Fame. He talks about what each means to him.
Athletic Hall of Fame
Growing up in South Buffalo, I had always aspired to become a Timon athlete. That was my singular focus from the days in grammar school when I would head to Mulroy Playground to watch the Tiger football team practice. At the same play-ground, I would play basketball against some of the older guys, all Timon grads, and in facing that kind of competition I made myself better. The first time I put on the uniform of a Tiger, I felt a pride that I could barely contain. I had reached the plateau and was competing alongside some of the best athletes in Timon history. But I still had a lot to learn.
Playing for Mel Palano was an honor and privilege I still revere. Under his tutelage I learned about teamwork, about the relationship of unique individuals to each other and to a cohesive unit. I played on a great team with great players who were all better because we played for Timon and Coach Palano. One of the reasons we played so hard for Mel was to earn his respect and the respect of all those who followed Timon athletics.
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame was an indication that I’d earned that respect and the right to be numbered among the best at the school I consider the best.
The John Timon Society
When I attended school on McKinley Parkway, the motto of “Fortes in Fide” was a shadow presence at Timon. You knew if was there but paid it little heed. Like so many things in my life, the real meaning and applicability of “Strong in Faith” didn’t become apparent to me until after I left Timon.
My road through adulthood meandered through a few triumphs and a lot of tragedy. The twists and turns took me through some terrible places and horrible experiences and I often struggled to make sense of where I’d been and where I wanted to go. Through it all, “Fortes in Fide” was both the road sign and the lamppost that saw me through it all. Strength of and in faith is the single constant in my life and the engine that allowed me to get from then to now.
When I received the call from Mark Schroeder about my selection to the John Timon Society, I was a bit surprised. I hadn’t really thought much about what I was doing as emblematic of a Timon man. But the more I thought about it the more I realized how Timon and the Franciscan spirit had forged a pretty broken guy into a man of contribution.
We rarely think of the present as a foundation for our future. When I was at Timon, I couldn’t wait for the subsequent chapters of my life to begin. When they did, and I encountered a lot more failure than I’d anticipated, I needed something to see me through. When I made it through the darkness, I knew what had brought me to that place where I had something to offer my community, my faith, and my nation was my faith – the faith instilled in me by the Friars and the lay teachers at Timon.
The recognition of induction into the Society was an affirmation for me; an affirmation that I had not only learned the lessons of “Fortes in Fide” but had found the courage to live the message.
Now it’s your turn.
Tell us your Timon story. Email Steve Cichon or Michelle Patterson.
Nominate someone you know for The John Timon Society or Athletic Hall of Fame.