Over 100 World War II veterans honored at luncheon

Honoring WWII veterans

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There were nearly 20 million American service men and women who served in World War II.

According to estimates, about 467,000 of those people still alive.

Honoring those who served in the war of wars brings with it a sense of urgency these days.

About 150 of those veterans were honored with a free luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel in mid town Tucson hosted by Carl Haupt, an author and philanthropist.

"One of the reasons I feed these people, is I've been hungry," Haupt said.

Homeless at 15-years-old during the Great Depression, he didn’t eat for days at a time.

He hopped trains as a kid when he ran into a man riding on top of a train.

The man offered an onion sandwich.

"He cut a slice of the onion about an inch thick, put two pieces of bread on top, two on the bottom and that was my meal," he said. "Never in my life have I tasted a better meal, it was delicious."

He now eats that meal on occasion.

“I know I have more resources now, but you must remember what it was like when you didn’t,” he said.

He says he remembers the G.I.s feeding the hungry while they were in combat in Europe during the war.

"I was aware that they used to feed the little hungry puppy or little children or families, shared their C-rations," he said. "They didn't like to see hungry children."

Tony Gargano, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, was one of those before he was captured.

“I had to steal food every night,” he said. “I snuck under the kitchen tent, grabbed cases of food and bring it to them."

They loved C-rations but Gargano didn’t.

Haupt’s non profit organization, Angels on the Border, raises money to provide for people in Mexico.

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