100-year-old World War II Veteran honored at Niles July 4th parade
The Niles community paid tribute to a World War II medic for helping the Greatest Generation secure freedom for the next generations.
WFMJ News talked with the honoree during the city's Fourth of July Parade.
People clapped along the Niles parade route as Joseph Bonanno, a lifelong resident of Niles passed by during the parade.
The hometown hero who is now 100 years old, was a combat medic who risked his life to help save others while dodging bullets on battlefields during World War II.
"He served under General Patton. He risked his life many times to go bring soldiers to safety," said his son Garry Bonanno.
"When you go out there you don't know if you're coming back. I did my job for my country for my whole heart and soul," said Veteran Joseph Bonanno.
Some relatives describe qualities that make him amazing.
"He's the best person you could ever get to know. He's so kind-hearted, selfless," Jenna Portale a great-niece emphasized.
"He's a wonderful man, wonderful heart. He was so excited about this event today," added Toni Bonanno.
Niles Mayor read a proclamation during the parade honoring Bonanno.
"We're very very proud of him, honoring him for his great accomplishments. We tap him today's Grand Marshal," said Mayor Steven Mientkiewicz.
The retired Steelworker was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery during combat with five battle stars, for succeeding heroic acts in combat, thanks to his savior Jesus for bringing him safely home from World War Two.
"Any Combat Medic doesn't come back home on their own. Jesus brings them home. That's why I'm so happy. I love everybody. This is the greatest day of my life," added Veteran Bonanno.
Bonanno's sons say their dad enjoys life and is grateful for his family, our country, and Niles.
"He works out three times a week. He goes to the grocery store. He helps plan meals. He stays very active and loves to watch Family Feud," Joseph Bonanno, Jr. said.