Julia Prodis Sulek is a a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News in San Jose, California. Here is her story.
“Everyone on the block knows Joe Bell. Whether he’s tinkering with his old fishing boat in the driveway or telling World War II stories from the sidewalk, neighbors always stop to chat.
Once in a while he dons his uniform, which still fits his thin, 95-year-old frame, and wears it to the senior center for lunch on Veterans Day or to meet with other vets.
When he put it on again Sunday morning, something spectacular happened. Joe stepped outside his Cape Cod-style house in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood to cheer on runners in a race that benefits the foundation for fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman. One by one, the runners left the course to shake an old soldier’s hand.
I live two doors down from Joe and captured the moment with my iPhone. It started so simply. As Joe stood a bit stooped on the sidewalk waving and cheering, the runners started waving and cheering back. When one of them saluted, Joe saluted back.” Courtesy Julia Prodis Sulek Bay Area News