La Grulla WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday
WWII veteran Gumercindo "Gume" Zambrano Jr. celebrated 100 years of life Wednesday.
“I think I feel just the same,” the La Grulla resident said.
Zambrano was drafted into the US Army in 1943 at the age of 18. His first deployment was a 15-day journey to Japan, where he was assigned as a radioman.
The more Zambrano retraced the three years he spent in the Army, the less he was able to gather his words.
“That's what's hard for him, to forget” Minerva Zambrano — Gumercindo’s daughter — said, adding she’s thankful for the years she's spent with him.
“It's a blessing because he's been a good dad,” Minerva said.
Zambrano returned to La Grulla in 1946. He married his wife the next year and started his family.
He was an active member of his community and helped build the Holy Family Catholic Church in 1952, which he and his family still attend.
Zambrano also served as the La Grulla Justice of the Peace and worked as a school bus driver until 1993.
"Many of us when we were in our younger years, he was our school bus driver,” La Grulla Mayor Patricia Solis said. “So we remember him for being that."
Solis is also Zambrano's neighbor, and she says it's an honor to have him a pillar of the La Grulla community.
“It's a legacy that he's leaving behind for us younger generation to follow,” Solis said.