Meet Sam! Sam Verniero Jr. has been a Woodstock resident for seven years. Many know him professionally, as Hon. Col. Dr. Samuel Verniero, Jr. He is exceptionally approachable, given what he has achieved.
Among his many distinctions, Georgia Governor Kemp recently appointed Sam to two separate State boards: the state of Georgia Rehabilitation Council and the statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia. Sam has previously served as a Kentucky Colonel, Arkansas Traveler and Ambassador, United Nations World Humanity Commission Deputy High Commissioner-Ambassador, member of the DeKalb County Community Service Board, member of the Selective Service System Appellate Judicial Board, and member of the Department of Behavioral Health Advisory Council.
Sam has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, including an “offsetting” terminal illness. The rare blood cancer is named Polycythemia Vera. His offsetting terminal illnesses consist of arterial vascular malformations and aneurysms. However, he has outlived his prognosis in spite of the odds. Most believe he is still here to offer proactive service amid unbelievable challenges. We are grateful Sam took the time and energy to sit down with us to share his love for the community of Woodstock.
What inspired you or led you to live in Woodstock?
I was ready to downsize and researched local communities. I chose Woodstock because it offers access to a downtown community environment. Upon visiting, I decided I wanted to be here.
What is your favorite restaurant in Woodstock, and what do you love there?
Primo’s Pizza and Italian Kitchen. The pepperoni pinwheels are fantastic! They’re made the original authentic way that my aunts and great aunts used to make them for me. They are to die for, and they are so good!
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Woodstock? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Woodstock?
Woodstock Police Officer Shane Bonebrake. He’s not just an officer but a true friend to the community.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. I was invited by royalty upon my commission to the Knights Templar and Guilderberg Society. I’m blessed to have received these invitations based on my history and my family heritage dating back, as an example, to Father Pietro Verniero da Montepeloso who was given the custos of the Holy Sepulchre by the Custos Pope.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
The first movie I believe was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Other favorites are The Family Stone, Groundhog Day, Family Man, The Godfather, and Goodfellas.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
Live for today because we aren’t guaranteed any tomorrow. When we leave this earth, the awards, titles, etc. don’t matter on judgement day. Anything can change in a moment. Focus on the moment, not the planning.
What is something on your bucket list?
It has changed with my terminal cancer. I hope to die with a smile on my face.
One dream I have is to visit the actual Field of Dreams in Iowa which will play host to a Major League baseball game this August (2020). A dream my father and I both shared but never accomplished was to visit the Field of Dreams before my father and I both died. Sadly, my father is now deceased.
What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I love Sinatra, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and Imagine Dragons amongst many others.
What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Woodstock?
The older buildings in Woodstock. I love the old buildings in general. When I go shopping with Lanora, I’ll find a seat and admire the woodwork and construction.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Where would you have lunch?
Lanora Stone Kelley and Reese Witherspoon. We’d go to an authentic Portuguese restaurant and savor paella with impeccable white-glove service.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
That I have received Commissions as a Kentucky Colonel, Arkansas Traveler Ambassador, UN World Humanity Commission Ambassador Deputy High Commissioner, I also received the highest honor of Knight of Honor and others. I would welcome a conversation about them at any time.
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Friendship, food, and safety.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond to play my mom. Paul Sorvino would have played my father.
If you had a full-time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?
Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
Everything rolled into one!
Sam in Community
You can find Sam on LinkedIn, around Woodstock, and serving Georgia through his state appointments.