A Sun City resident will celebrate more than 100 years of life and the public is invited to participate.
A drive-by birthday celebration is scheduled for 102-year-old Gino Mei Thursday, July 14. Residents from throughout the Northwest Valley are invited to be part of the event. Staging is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the First Presbyterian Church, 12225 N. 103rd Ave. The procession go go by Mei’s home on North 103rd Avenue and he will be sitting in the driveway to see it.
Mei is a World War II veteran, but took a roundabout journey to become a United State military service member.
He and his family lived in Italy when World War II broke out. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s army conscripted Mei into the Italian army as an 18-year-old. When it became known Mussolini was going to side with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Mei’s father put him on a ship and brought him to the United States.
Mei joined the American army and went back to Europe where he fought the Germans all the way across Europe. He was part of Gen. George S. Patton‘s 3rd Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest.
Jeff Turney, Peoria Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee chairman, is spearheading the celebration and hopes to have 1,000 people drive by Mei’s home to thank him for his service to the U.S.