Homeless World War II veteran honored

Lightbridge presents Henry Dace with award

SAN DIEGO - A homeless World War II veteran received a special honor at St. Vincent de Paul Village on Monday.

"I feel 10 feet tall," said a laughing Henry Dace.

The 89-year-old World War II veteran was stationed in the Philippines and New Zealand.

Dace, who is from Alabama, doesn't like to stay in one place too long.

"I guess I take after my grandfather; he liked to travel," said Dace.

Saint Vincent de Paul Village residency specialist David Colgate said Dace has been at the shelter for about three weeks, but he's spent time there in the past as well.

"Henry is one of those unforgettable figures. He's traveled an incredible journey in his life," said Colgate. "He's had to get through a lot of obstacles to get where he is right now."

Colgate said it was an honor to watch the pinning ceremony by the nonprofit Lightbridge.

Lightbridge has performed nearly 1,000 honor ceremonies to recognize San Diego veterans.

"It made me smile inside. It made me feel like an old wrong was righted and he's waited a long time for this," said Colgate.

Colgate is thankful Dace is here to teach all of us a few lessons.

"In a lot of ways he epitomizes his generation. He brings his old values to 2013," said Colgate.

It's a generation that's disappearing, as statistics show 1,000 WWII veterans die every day.

"It's an opportunity for us to celebrate him for who he is and who he was and who he still can be," said Colgate.

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