Sir Peter Gilea got a big surprise Saturday, May 30, when dozens of vehicles—cars and motorcycles, York Center fire trucks, DuPage County squad cars and O’Hare tow trucks—drove by to wish the Lombard resident a happy 99th birthday. Lombard’s Lilac VFW Post 5815 and Auxiliary organized the event with Senior Home Sharing to honor the World War II veteran, who was an M4 Sherman tank commander. He served in five campaigns, was knighted by the British government and received a Knight of the Legion of Honor medal from the French government, as well as Bronze Star, Purple Heart, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign, Good Conduct, American Defense and World War II Victory medals. His daughter, friends and neighbors stopped by the Senior Home Sharing residence, where Gilea has lived for seven-and-a-half years, to wish him well. He humbly commented, “What a surprise.”


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