A group of runners surprised Corp. Joe Bell, a San Jose resident and World War II veteran, on Sunday while he cheered them on.
Bell, 95, stood in uniform on the sidewalk while participants ran in a race that benefited a foundation for fallen Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
Bell called out, “Go get ‘em,” when a man ran over, shook his hand and said, “Thank you for your service.”
Neighbor Julia Prodis Sulek captured the whole thing on her iPhone as runners started to run up to Bell and thank him.
“I never got recognition in my life,” Bell told Sulek, writing for the San Jose Mercury News. ”I was a jumper in the OSS. That’s all.”
He said he was a little overwhelmed by the show of support. “They hugged me and kissed me and the young men shook my hands. I never knew there were that many people that would do that.”
Former Green Beret Erik Wittreich was the first runner to stop and shake Bell’s hand.
“I just saw this former soldier showing a lot of respect for his uniform” Wittreich said. “He was clearly proud to show he was in the military. It was important for me to thank him.”