CORAL SPRINGS, FL – The World War II veteran was expecting a small family dinner this weekend in honor of him turning 96.
What Bart Inzalaco didn’t anticipate was a parade of Coral Springs police and fire vehicles as well as the mayor showing up at his home in the Cypress Lakes neighborhood.
As a surprise, the city’s public safety officials threw Inzalaco a “birthday parade” to honor his service to the nation.
“It’s awesome,” said his daughter, Patricia Wierling, whose father lives with her and her husband, Albert. “It’s so important to honor all the veterans, especially those from World War II. There’s not many of them left.”
Inzalaco was a top turret engineer who flew in B-17s for the 95 Bomb Group which dropped bombs over Germany during the war, Wierling said.
Like many veterans, he didn’t talk much about those flights in the years after the war, she said. He only started sharing his stories later in life.
Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., Inzalaco went on to have a larger family and spend his working years owning a furniture store and managing in retail stores.
Back in 2011, Inzalaco went on an Honor Flight with fellow veterans to Washington, D.C. where he met former Senator Bob Dole.
“He deserves this honor,” said Susan Wasielewski, his granddaughter. “He’s a great family man and a real role model for us.”
Gregarious and always smiling, he’s often the center of the focus at family gatherings, Wierling said. He still enjoys cooking Italian food, particularly making sausage and minestrone soup. And he can still do odds-and-ends jobs around the house.
“He’s very bubbly,” Wierling said, who had her father move in with her after her mother passed away.
Wasielewski asked Coral Springs police to honor her grandfather through a birthday parade, and even though police generally don’t take part in them because of concerns over spreading the coronavirus, they decided to do one for Inzalaco.
And at one time, they arrived in squad cars, motorcycles, SWAT vehicle, fire truck, and ambulance. Mayor Scott Brook attended, too. Everyone sang “happy birthday.”
“Our vets sacrificed so much for our freedom. We can never thank them or honor them enough,” Brook said.
Afterward, the veteran told his granddaughter: “I’ll never forget this.”
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