Local senior community celebrates service members, including 100-year-old WWII vet

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SEVEN HILLS, Ohio (WJW) – Ahead of Veterans Day, a local senior community is celebrating those who served, including one elder resident, a World War II veteran who will mark his 101st birthday this week.

Armand Venditti says there is no one secret to a living a long life. Rather, he said there’s values and principles to live by like eliminating stress, staying healthy, being respectful of others and caring for family.

“To love each other and, of course, the good Lord, I think plays a good part in your life. You’ve got to have that, your faith, your faith will carry you through an awful lot,” he said. “It’s just wonderful to be alive and I feel well. I can’t complain.”

Sitting inside the Vitalia senior living community in Seven Hills with a newly pinned American flag on his sports coat, Venditti said he was honored to be part of the celebration. It included veterans receiving a American flag pin, gift bag and certificate for their service in the military.

Venditti served in the U.S. Army Air Force, European Theater of Operations and traveled to several countries during the war, including France, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg. Venditti said he operated emergency airfields and assisted pilots, often in distress.

“When they couldn’t make it back to England, they would land on our emergency fields. We had quite a few,” said Venditti. “One thing that I did that stands out… one of our pilots couldn’t make it only because of the contour of the land he was trying to land in, the wheel on his airplane collapsed. I was able to help him out of his cockpit. We got him out safely.”

FOX 8 traveled with Venditti, his daughter and several other local veterans during an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in 2018.

“I think we all need to hear their stories and we need to remember why they fought for our freedom and be very thankful for what all the veterans did, be thankful we still have a few World War II veterans with us,” said Pat Beck, Venditti’s daughter holding her father’s hand.

The veteran described the recognition during the ceremony Tuesday as overwhelming.

Venditti said he is grateful his service, along with his neighbors, was recognized in such a meaningful way.

“It’s something I’ll always remember,” he said. “Especially when people acknowledge what you’ve done and why we’ve done it. It’s overwhelming, really, when you’re part of that, part of something that’s so phenomenal.”

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