3 Delaware Valley WWII veterans to be honored at Pearl Harbor

"I think I will be very emotional," said Mike Grieco, a Northeast Philly native and WWII veteran.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Northeast Philadelphia native Mike Grieco is reminiscing about his days as a Marine on this Veterans Day.

Memorabilia, including dog tags and military pictures, are proudly on display in his home in the city's Mayfair section.

The 95-year-old, who was in Okinawa, Japan during World War II, will be among three veterans from the Delaware Valley honored for their service next month at Pearl Harbor.

"I feel very honored to go there as a Marine," Grieco says about his upcoming trip. "Definitely honor the people that never came back. We lost a lot of people."

Grieco, Dave Dilks of Hatfield, and 99-year-old Allentown native Richard Schimmel, who is a Pearl Harbor survivor, will travel to the United States naval base for the 80th anniversary of the deadly attacks.

"It really gets them excited and they can go and be honored," said Diane Hight, the founder of the nonprofit Forever Young Veterans. "They saved the world's freedom, they deserve this recognition."

Hight is organizing her 50th trip for veterans. This trip will include 16 veterans from around the country, including Grieco, Dilks and Schimmel.

Of course, traveling to Hawaii is not cheap, so the organization, which is based in Memphis, Tennessee, is raising money to help cover their expenses. They're asking you for help, too.

Due to the pandemic, their donations are down 75% from last year.

"A lot of people think they are going on vacation. No these are military trips of honor. They are returning for their comrades that didn't come home. That's what they tell me all the time. It's almost like like want to go back and make peace with it," Hight says about the upcoming trip.

"I think I will be very emotional," Grieco says.

The trip runs from December 3 to December 8.

If you want to help sponsor one of these vets or get more details, CLICK HERE.
Copyright © 2022 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.