NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Haven Fire Department answered a different type of call Tuesday morning: a birthday call.
The fire department, alongside its military members of American Legion Post 132, gathered together to celebrate the 100th birthday of U.S. Army Veteran Americo Mastrogiovanni.
The surprise celebration took place outside Mastrogiovanni’s home in New Haven.
“He’s an American hero, and he’s one of our residents, and because the post is attached to the fire department, police department, we’re here to honor him for his birthday,” New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said.
Mastrogiovanni said he’s seen a lot in his time. During World War II, he helped fellow troops storm the beaches of Normandy, putting his life on the line for the United States.
“I remember going from Britain to France on a small ship,” Mastrogiovanni said. “It was sunk. I’m lucky to be here.”
Mastrogiovanni grew up on the streets of New Haven and attended Yale University. The 100-year-old man has also spent many years giving back to his community.
Amanda Moreno grew up across the streets from Mastrogiovanni, and to this day, she affectionately calls him uncle.
“Without getting emotional, he’s been a huge part of my life, always a positive influence, always a man full of knowledge,” Moreno said.
With that knowledge, this centenarian provides a secret to his longevity.
“Don’t ever become a hundred. Just go from 99 to 101,” Mastrogiovanni said.
But before that happens, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has ordered a flag to be flown at the U.S. Capitol to honor Mastrogiovanni’s birthday.