When 97-year-old World War II veteran Bartolomeo ‘Bennie’ Ficeto of Edison, New Jersey wakes up and starts his day, he does so like many Americans across the country—but very few people his own age—by getting dressed for work.
In the 1940s, Bennie served as a fighter plane pilot, flying a B-25 Mitchell bomber for missions over Northern Africa and Italy. Now, he’s a part-time employee where he bags groceries at a Stop & Shop grocery store in his community.
“To him, his age is a fact — not a factor. Ficeto has been a part of the Stop and Shop family for nearly 10 years,” ABC 7 reports.
Bennie wants to continue to work, despite nearing 100 years of age, as it gives his life meaning.
“I get a feeling that I did something good. You can’t just stand around, like an idiot. You have to have a reason to keep alive,” he said via CBS News.
And, from Daily Mail:
‘Bennie’s a joy, he’s full of life, he’s happy,’ store manager Sal Marconi told ABC 7 NY.
Stop & Shop assistant manager Mike Moss said he’s tried to make ‘Bennie’ take his mandatory 15-minute break during shifts, but Ficeto just yells at his boss, saying ‘I don’t want to stop. Don’t tell me how to work. See the light on? That’s where I’m going.’
‘I don’t take no breaks,’ Ficeto told CBS. ‘Why would I take a break when I only get to work four hours?’
Ficeto’s attitude about work may have a lot to do with his time serving in the US Army Air Force during WWII.
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As ABC 7 reports, Bennie wants to continue to work and help serve those in his community for as long as he lives:
A newspaper recently wrote a story about him that made him a bit of a local star.
“People are so nice, it makes you feel proud,” Ficeto said. “They put my write up over there.”
And he gets even more love when folks learn he was a gunner on a fighter plane during WWII. He put his life on the line each mission.
“I was scared every time I had to get into the plane,” he said. “But the Lord took me back.”
Ficeto shared another reason why he cherishes his long life.
“The day I didn’t fly, they shot my plane down,” Ficeto said. “And I don’t know where they went down.”
Ficeto says he isn’t that old and he still has all his senses — and has no plans to stop using them.
He said he plans to keep working until he drops dead.