SAN JOSE, Calif. (WTVR) – Something special happened as a 95-year-old World War II veteran stood in his front yard Sunday and cheered on runners taking part in a race benefiting the foundation set up in honor of the fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
Dressed in his uniform, Joe Bell clapped as participants zoomed by. First, one runner saluted Bell as he zipped by. Many of the runners clapped back and then one man detoured to the sidewalk where Bell was standing. He shook Bell’s hand and thanked him for his service. Then, one by one, more runners peeled off course and shook Bell’s hand or have him a high-five.
Bell’s neighbor, Julia Prodis Sulek of the San Jose Mercury News, captured the spectacular moment on video.
“But as I recorded, I couldn’t help but get choked up to see this sweet old man, beloved by his neighbors, receiving a parade of tributes from strangers. It was especially poignant coming during a benefit for Tillman, a San Jose native who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Tillman had given up an NFL career to join the Army after 9/11,” Sulek wrote.
The video of Bell, who is well known in the community, has quickly went viral gone viral. In fact, as of Wednesday afternoon, it had over 38,000 views. Plus, the video was featured on various media outlets across the country.
The 408-K Race to the Row benefited the Pat Tillman Foundation.