I was born in Calabria, Italy on June 15, 1927. My father, mother and sisters (Elvira and Rosina) came to America in 1936. We all went through Ellis Island and from there to New Jersey. We lived there for a short period, then, my father decided to move us to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. My father had two brothers in the area. We moved there to find them. We moved to a town called Pitcairn, which is about twenty miles from Pittsburg. It took my father two years to locate his brothers, and they lived only two miles from us. I attended school in Pitcairn and worked delivering newspapers, in a shoe shine store, and a vegetable store to help earn money to support our family.
When I was fifteen, I changed my birth certificate to show I was eighteen to get a job on the Penn Railroad. I worked there as a mechanic until I tried to join the Army against my parents’ wishes. This did not work out and I had to wait until I tried to join the Army against my parents’ wishes. This did not work out and I had to wait until I was eighteen. I joined the Army and was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky to do my basic training. After training, I was sent overseas and assigned to the Third Armored Division under General Patton. I went through France and Germany with the Third. I returned home after the war was over.
When I returned home I stated a fruit business and also worked for the railroad so I could make money. During this time, I found a beautiful, wonderful woman that made my heart throb. Her name was Evelyn Olenick. She lived in McKeesport and we were married there on October 20, 1951. At that time the coal engine on the train became diesel and I was laid off from my job. Evelyn and I went to Long Island to see relatives since I was not working. I landed a job with the Sunrise Supreme Markets as a produce manager and Evelyn got a job in bookkeeping at the same company. We went back to Pennsylvania and packed all our belongings and moved to Long Island. We were able to save money and had a house build in Cambria Heights Long Island. Our first daughter Marianne was born in 1959. I became business agent for Local 1500 U.F.C.W. in 1963 and Vice President in 1964. My second daughter, Valerie, was born in 1964 when we lived in Lindenhurst.
In 1982, I had a car accident that forced me to retire. We then moved to Apopka. I got involved with the VFW in 1989 and have been active ever since. I made it my project to make Post 10147 the best post in Florida, and you can see today that I just about completed my dream.
In March of 1999 my pride and job was born, my grandson James A. Morrison. But I saved the best part of my bio for last, the most wonderful person in my life, my wife. I can’t put into words what Evelyn means to me but she made the last fifty-nine years of my life worth living. We are best friends, soul mates, and inseparable at times. She is a true partner in everything we do from our home life to the VFW. I would not be here today without her help and devotion. Together we met some of the most wonderful people during out years married. This October, we will be married fifty-nine years and I pray for another fifty-five. Evelyn I Love you. In closing, I wish all the people involved with Post 10147, a job well done and we will continue to add members to the only post in Florida that is comprised of “ALL LIFE MEMBERS”.In lieu of flowers the family ask for donations to be made to: John Land- Apopka Community Trust Ermarked to Ortenzio “Artie” Vecchio