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Taps - Peppi DiGeronimo

by SofS Staff - June 2, 2009

We say farewell to our dear friend and NYC senior advisor


On Saturday, May 30, 2009, Stories of Service lost another of our "greats": Peppi (Joseph) DiGeronimo.

Peppi with Michael, Anthony and Lisa in one of our Stories of Service promotional images

Peppi with Abner Greenberg, one of his "recruits" in Washington, D.C.

Peppi was a longtime friend of and advocate for Stories of Service in New York City.  He not only shared his own story, but encouraged members of his World War II PTSD group at the Manhattan VA hospital to share their experiences.

See Peppi's Story  |  See stories of Peppi's "recruits"

When Peppi joined us in Washington, D.C. for our first and second Memorial Day Rally weekends, he had the opportunity to meet our extended Stories of Service family from California.  He made many new friends, and left an unforgettable impression on all he met.

In addition to serving as a senior advisor and "World War II Vet Wrangler" for our program in NYC, Peppi was an active member of the United War Veterans Council of NYC and served as a mentor for veterans of all eras at the Manhattan VA, living up to the promise he made in his Digital Story to make sure that all veterans received the care they deserved.

The following are some recollections and reflections about Peppi from our Stories of Service family.

* * * * *

Peppi at the Tomb of the Unknowns with Al and Diane

"Everyone who attended the Rally in 2007 and 2008 were fortunate to meet this remarkable man who was always eager to be supportive of the youth and his fellow veterans.

"I will personally miss seeing him stride down Constitution Avenue on Memorial Day, waving to the cheering crowd and handing candy to wide eyed kids who lined the parade route.

"I will always remember how much he appreciated joining fellow WWII veteran Al Tortolano and Gold Star Mother Diane Layfield to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Memorial Day 2007, when the skies opened up and the rain poured down on our intrepid band who stood by silently for the ceremony.

"This was the most incredible experience of my life," he said as we strolled back to the bus.   I believe he was speaking from the bottom of his heart.

We will be honored to share his story down through the years as each year we reflect on the Great Ones who made it possible for us to be where we are today...

Warren Hegg
Executive Director, Digital Clubhouse Network
Stories of Service Program Supervisor

* * * * *

"It was a pleasure to have been able to meet, and get to know Peppi, even for a short period of time.   Peppi did indeed perk us all up with his energy and positive outlook on life.  I considered it an honor to be a part of the ceremonies at Arlington Cemetary with Peppi and Diane.

Al Tortolano
World War II Veteran
Stories of Service Senior Advisor
> Al's Story

* * * * *

"Bless his enormous, loving, tender, heart. Such a magnificent man. I can't even express how much he will be missed.

God bless this Great American, Veteran, Hero, Special Friend."

Diane Layfield
Gold Star Mother
Stories of the Fallen Leadership Council
> Diane's Story 

* * * * *

"So many joyful ‘Peppi’ stories to tell and write of.   He was and will always remain “La Familia” to me and all whom he touched.
 
"We shed our tears in the loss of his smile, laughter, voice, his gentle touch, concern for all of us, and the genuine love he gave freely and openly.
 
"Thank you for your legacy and spirit we pledge to carry on.
 
"What a special guy! The world is a better place because of him being with us. 
 
"I love you Peppi."

Pat Gualtieri
VIetnam Veteran
Stories of Service storyteller
Executive Director, United War Veterans Council of NYC
> Pat's Story

* * * * *

Peppi leads our contingent in the 2007 National Memorial Day Parade, with Fredo, Natasha and Aubrey

"Peppi was so full of energy!  When Peppi saw me he would make a joke to make me laugh.  I remember when he told me three of his golden rules:  1. Never look back ; 2. Never marry a pretty women (that's my favorite one).  I can't remember the other one... He was very funny, really really funny"

Fredo Rubalcava
Stories of Service founding youth member

* * * * *

"This years parade was not the same without him. He will be missed greatly.

"Peppi was always giving stuff away. Last year he gave me a mint two dollar bill with his named signed over the Secretary of the Treasury.

"I remember he sneaked food from the breakfast buffet at the hotel and brought it onto the bus in case anyone didn't eat any breakfast. What a guy! The man was just filled with love.

"I know wherever Peppi is, he will be checking his emails regularly.

"Love you Peppi,"

Robert Corpus
Stories of Service National Youth Leader

* * * * *

"To the many of us who knew Peppi - we all need to salute him and celebrate his new beginnings... We all know Peppi will always be with us in our hearts and souls and he will bring a smile to our faces every time we think about him.  He is with us right now and will NEVER be forgotten! 

"WE LOVE YOU PEPPI!!!!"

Joanne Fried
Stories of Service supporter
Director, Media & Public Relations, U-Haul International

* * * * *   

"Peppi had no children or grandchildren of his own, and he truly loved (and was constantly amazed by) each and every one of our young people.  In recent years, he extended this love and care to the young men and women of our latest generation of veterans, taking them under his wing and guiding them through the labyrinthian halls of the NYC VA hospital.

"He also extended this love to me personally, always there with a smile, a word of support, and a box of cannolis to take home to my wife."

"Now, he has gone to the candy store in the sky, where he will be waiting for us all with a joke, a dance, a handful of caramels (sugar free!) and maybe some cannolis, too."

"Godspeed, Nonno Terzo.  Thank you for your example of service to your country and to your fellow citizens, for your support, your guidance, and your unconditional love."

Ryan Hegg
Program Director
Stories of Service

* * * * *

 



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