Volunteers assist 99-year-old WWII veteran

House of Heroes Connecticut chair Carol May, left, presents WWII veteran Nicholas Lanteri with a framed flag after renovations were made to his house. Lantieri’s son, Paul, rear, his son-in-law Sal Fusco, and daughter, Annelise Fusco, were on hand for the presentation. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

In the months following the invasion of Normandy in June of 1944, Pfc. Nicholas Lanteri played a vital role as a telecommunications technician with the 555th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Lanteri and his peers followed on the heels of Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army as Patton’s troops fought their way across Europe.

“We came ashore on Utah Beach,” the 99-year-old Southington resident said in a press release. “We brought along lots of heavy, top secret radar equipment. The water was up to our chests.”

Lanteri shadowed Patton wherever he went in the European Campaign, including the Battle of the Bulge. Every step of the way, Lanteri played an instrumental role, ensuring that the telephone lines worked, linking the front lines with Washington.

“We followed Patton right through to the end of the war,” Lanteri said in the release. “I was fortunate that I never had to shoot a gun.”

On Saturday, Oct. 20, Lanteri’s service to the nation was recognized by a team of approximately 30 volunteers from House of Heroes Connecticut. Most of the volunteers were employees of the project’s sponsor, PCX Aerostructures of Newington.

The crew descended upon Lanteri’s home on Bagley Road to provide an abundance of home repairs, including installation of a handicap ramp, window repairs, carpentry and yard work.

“It’s an honor and privilege for PCX Aerostructures and our employees to have the opportunity to show a Greatest Generation veteran such as Mr. Lanteri just how much we appreciate his service to our country,” PCX Aerostructures President and CEO Jeff Frisby said in the release. “The partnership we enjoy with House of Heroes offers us an ideal chance to give back to those who have given so much to us.”

House of Heroes Connecticut recognizes, honors, and serves military and public safety veterans and surviving spouses for their sacrificial service to America. The organization’s goal is to “make a difference in a day” through the provision of one-day, no-cost home improvements with a priority placed on safety and accessibility.

With the completion of the Southington project, the Connecticut Chapter has assisted a total of 108 military and public safety veterans and/or their surviving spouses in 42 cities and towns across Connecticut, as well as in seven additional states, since its founding in 2012.

The Lanteri project will be HOHCT’s ninth in Southington.

Lanteri was born in Bristol in 1919 and grew up in New Britain. He entered military service in January of 1943 at age 23, and trained at Drew Field in Tampa, Florida. He was discharged in December, 1945 and shortly thereafter married his wife, Marie. The couple raised two children: Annelise Fusco of Southington and Paul Lanteri of Stratford.

Lanteri spent his post-military career working first at a small tool shop in New Britain and later as printer in the newspaper business for many years with the Southington News and Middletown Press, eventually retiring in the mid-1980s.

For his service to our nation, Lanteri earned the Europeand African campaign ribbon, Victory Medal (Belgium) and Good Conduct medal.

In 1984 and 1994, Lanteri attended the 40th and 50th commemorations of D-Day in Normandy with his family, visiting Utah Beach, Omaha Beach and the American and British cemeteries, where more than 14,000 casualties of war lie in rest.

For more information about House of Heroes Connecticut, to nominate a veteran, volunteer for a project or to make a donation in support of the organization’s mission, visit www.hohct.org.

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