JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — A local World War II hero is being honored for his service, 77-years after leaving the front lines of the world’s largest conflict.
Family, friends and dignitaries gathered at the Fenton History Center in Jamestown on Thursday to recognize the distinguished service of Thomas Tedesco.
“I’m very proud of my brother, he’s always been very hard working, generous and thoughtful,” explained Joy Tedesco Judski. “Although I was only two-years-old when he left for the Army, I know how much my mother and father missed him, I mother wrote to him everyday, and he wrote back some very loving, loving letters.”
Army Private First Class Thomas Tedesco was drafted on February 4, 1943. He first provided mail and logistical support to all American military units in the United Kingdom, before he was sent to the front lines, joining the D-Day invasion, and later, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge.
When asked about his service, the American hero was reserved.
“Was it difficult? No, it wasn’t difficult, explained Tedesco. “I did what I was told, and that was it,”
Now at 98-years-old, the Private was honored with several accommodations, including the Bronze Star Medal, the fourth-highest individual military award for valor.
He recalled Victory Day celebrations, both across the nation and when he returned home to Falconer. That’s where he met his lifelong partner, Nina.
“I recall this soldier kissing his girl on the front page,” explained Tedesco. “I met my wonderful wife, we lived (together) for 70-years, she passed away three years ago.”
Raising five children, his son and grandsons also serve in the military.
“It makes me very proud,” said Tedesco.
This tradition, according to local historian Barb Cessna, is a generational trait that started after the Revolutionary War.
“Their son’s ventured out, and after the War of 1812, came here for land and then their son’s were the Civil War Soldiers, it’s in their family,” explained Cessna. “It’s in their DNA.”
During WWII specifically, hundreds of soldiers across Chautauqua County were photographed by Globe Studios in Jamestown. An album artifact that’s on display at the Fenton History Center.
“Many of them did not come back, so that stands as the only photo of them in their uniform,” continued Cessna.