Yesterday, Senator Rob Ortt (R,C,I,Ref-North Tonawanda) honored Lockport resident Anthony P. Santoro at the New York State Senate’s 2019 “Veterans’ Hall of Fame” ceremony. Private First Class (PFC) Santoro served courageously as an infantryman for the U.S. Army in World War II.
Born in 1925 to Italian immigrants, Alberto and Josephine Santoro, Anthony (Tony) P. Santoro would be the only child of the couple and would spend his childhood growing up in Buffalo. Upon graduating high school in 1944, Tony enlisted in the U.S. Army and proudly served with the 10th Armored Division, Company A – Armored Infantry.
In April of 1945, while on patrol in Heilbronn, Germany, Tony was severely injured when a German 88-Cannon shell hit the tank he was patrolling alongside. The explosion caused by the German projectile threw him into a brick building and left him with nerve damage and shrapnel injuries to his back. Tony would spend the next seven months in hospitals in Betel, France and Staten Island, New York.
Tony was awarded a Purple Heart and was medically discharged as a Private First Class November 1945.
“I am honored to celebrate the service and sacrifice of PFC Tony Santoro, and recognize a true American hero,” said Sen. Ortt. “At just 18-years-old, Tony put his own life on the line to serve his country and fight back against the tyranny that had engulfed Europe. We will forever be grateful for the bravery and heroism of PFC Santoro and the young men he served with.”
Upon leaving the service, Tony married Shirley Barr in the summer of 1946. The two would go on to have 14 children together, six of whom carried on his legacy of military service.
Tony would go on to obtain his private and commercial pilot’s license before becoming a flight instructor in 1954. Over the course of his life, Tony has logged over 7,000 hours of flight.
Tony happily retired from the United States Postal Service in 1990 and currently resides in Lockport, NY with his wife, Shirley. The two continue to share their lives together and reminisce on many memories of traveling across the country. They now enjoy visits from their many grandchildren and even a few great-grandchildren.
Receiving the award on behalf of Tony are three of his children; Kathleen Wenner, Joseph Santoro, and Marianne Palumbo.