Community celebrates 96th birthday of World War II Veteran

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COLORADO SPRINGS — A World War II veteran in Colorado Springs celebrated his 96th birthday in style on Wednesday.

Escolastico ‘Cole’ Griego was sent to the war at age 19 and fought during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

His stepdaughter, Renee Tabet coordinated a drive-by birthday celebration in his honor, with people from stopping by his northeast Colorado Springs home for the big event.

“I think that was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on him,” said Tabet.

The Colorado Springs Fire and Police Departments stopped by along with veterans, members of the Doherty High School  Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and more.

“I didn’t think I would make it to here, but here I am,” said Griego.

His bravery and sacrifice did not go unnoticed. He was honored with an American flag given to him by the American Legion Riders and presents from people living throughout southern Colorado.

“It chocked us up,” said Tabet. “I think my mom cried during the majority of the event.”

Cole’s advice to living a long and healthy life is simple:

“Be happy and enjoy your life,” Cole said. “It’s so simple and makes you think a little better.”

Cole expects to have plenty of more birthdays ahead of him, he says several of his relatives lived up to 105 years old.

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