Thomson, GA (WJBF)- A 97-year old veteran from Thomson received honor today from the Patriot Guard Riders of Georgia with a drive-by parade.
Louis Graziano is a Veteran of the second World War and the last surviving witness to the surrender of the Germans to the Allied Forces in May of 1945. Now he’s also a survivor of Coronavirus. Sunday afternoon, he was honored by some fellow veterans.
Mr. Graziano has survived much in his lifetime. The third wave of D-Day on Omaha Beach, The Battle of the Bulge, and now COVID-19. His family says he wasn’t feeling well and they took him to the hospital where he tested positive for the virus.
Kim Evans is Mr. Graziano’s daughter. She said his case wasn’t serious, but because of his age, doctors wanted to keep an eye on him.
“He had a mild case. Really, in the hospital, his temperature was not over 99.6. But really he didn’t complain. You wouldn’t have even known that he had COVID. But we could tell he didn’t feel well,” she said.
After spending several days in the hospital, he was released. His family says he was feeling depressed, so they reached out to friends for ideas to cheer him up.
“And one of the friends sent a message to a lady in California which was a member of the Patriot Guard Riders in California. So she contacted the member that was in charge of the Georgia Chapter,” Evans said.
Leon McLamb is the Assistant State Captain for the Patriot Guard Riders of Georgia. He says when he heard about Mr. Graziano, he wanted to do something to help.
“He has recently recovered from COVID and he was a little down in spirits, so we’re trying to pep up his spirits and show him that the community really cares about him,” explained McLamb.
So they put together a parade which included members of the Patriots Guard Riders, some friends, and former Augusta mayor Bob Young. Mr. Graziano was presented with a coin and a World War II Flag with the signatures of everyone in attendance. He said that he didn’t expect the parade, but it made him happy.
“I feel great. For what they’ve done. I didn’t realize they were gonna do all this. It surprised me,” smiled Louis Graziano.
He also said that he is feeling much better after his bout with COVID.
“Oh I’m feeling great now because I kept my prayers. It got me through it. I was laying in that bed for four days on my back before they finally let me up.”
Mr. Graziano was supposed to be on a book tour to promote a book he wrote in 2019 about his experiences in World War II. He kept mementos and notes he wrote with memories of the war in a box for years, before finally writing his book.
“Well in the book I got everything from the time I went in the service, to the time I got out. It’s all in that book,” said Graziano.
So did the parade cheer him up? The look on his face, said it all.
Mr. Graziano’s book, “A Patriots Memoirs of World War Two” is available on Amazon.