• WWII veteran, 97, still going strong as grocery store bagger in New Jersey

    By: Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    A 97-year-old World War II veteran from New Jersey continues to work, and is enjoying every minute of it.

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    Bartolomeo Ficeto Jr., of Edison, bags groceries twice a week at a Stop and Shop store in his hometown, WABC reported. Known as “Bennie,” Ficeto has worked at the grocery store for a decade and does not even take 15-minute breaks, the television station reported.

    "Bennie's a joy, he's full of life, he's happy," manager Sal Marconi told WABC

    Ficeto was born in Belleville in 1921, the seventh of eight children, according to a 2016 article in 1262 Banner, a publication for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local Union 1262. 

    He has been working most of his life. According to Ancestry.com, Ficeto is listed as a barber in the 1940 census. 

    Ficeto then enlisted in the military in June 1942, according to military records on the website. He was a gunner on a fighter plane during World War II, WABC reported. 

    "I was scared every time I had to get into the plane," Ficeto told the television station. "But the Lord took me back." 

    After leaving the Air Force in 1945, Ficeto worked for a rubber stamp plant, 1262 Banner reported. When the plant relocated to Maryland, Ficeto started working for L’Oreal, the magazine reported. He rose to the rank of supervisor before retiring at age 67.

    Ficeto told 1262 Banner that he continued doing part-time jobs and volunteer work after retirement. He enjoys talking to customers.

    “I like the people I work with and I like the customers and helping them out,” Ficeto told the magazine. “It’s what keeps me young. You have to keep active.”

    He plans to remain active. 

    “I was raised in a family where you were taught to respect hard work and to respect people,” FIceto told 1262 Banner. “When you do that, people will respect you too and you will always have a job to do.”

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