Bainbridge World War II veteran Frank Delello is set to be awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military and civil award.
“He represents all the veterans, not just himself,” said Pamela Delello, Delello’s daughter
The award recognizes the 93-year-old Delello’s 11 months of combat duty in France during the second world war, where served as an engineer, and was in the second wave onto the beach in Normandy. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star.
Pamela Delello, a resident of Lakeland, Fla., discovered that her father was eligible for the award after reading an article in her local paper. This article said that France was now awarding the Legion of Honor to certain American World War II veterans who’d served in France during the conflict.
“It takes a year at least to get selected,” said Delello, adding that her father had had to meet strict criteria to receive the award.
Assisted by Ms. Briss, an employee in the French Consulate in New York City, Delello sent out her father’s documentation, and in May of this year, he was approved to receive the Legion of Honor.
The award is currently still in France, but a crowd of approximately 90 people gathered Wednesday at the American Legion in Sidney to pay tribute to Delello and the honor he’s about to receive.
“The turn out was just beyond expectation,” said Pamela Delello, who came up from Florida for the event. “It was just beautiful.”
At the ceremony, Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, R-Guilford, presented Delello with a framed copy of the letter from the government of France informing him that he was to receive the Legion of Honor, as well as a picture of the award.
“That was beautiful. Nice group,” said Delello when asked for his thoughts on the ceremony.
Delello was drafted into the army in 1942 when he was 22 years old, months after his marriage to his wife Jane.
“He went into enlist but they wouldn’t take him because he was married. Two weeks later they drafted him,” Pamela Delello said.
Delello and his wife were married for 62 years before she died in June 2003. They had two children, Pamela and their son Barry, who also lives in Florida.
“He kissed her for the first time at 14,” said Delello.
One of eight brothers, Delello was the only one sent over seas during the war. Delello was honorably discharged in 1945. His daughter said that he’s never talked about the war much, preferring to leave it in the past.
Before and after his military service, Delello worked in the tool room at Scintilla, the company that would later became Amphenol.
“He worked there 41 years and never missed a day of work,” said Pamela Delello.
“I’ve always wanted to but I haven’t,” said Delello, when asked whether he’d been back to France since the war’s end.
Should he be able to make it down, Delello will be presented with the Legion of Honor by a representative of the French government at the French Consulate in New York City on Nov. 8.