Johnston veteran Rebello A. Ferrante turns 99

Decorated World War II veteran accepts award

By PETE FONTAINE
Posted 8/18/22

In 15 short days, Sept. 2 to be precise, Rebello A. Ferrante will celebrate his 99th birthday.

But that’s just one of the many facts about a marvelous milestone man, a living legend in fact, …

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Johnston veteran Rebello A. Ferrante turns 99

Decorated World War II veteran accepts award

Posted

In 15 short days, Sept. 2 to be precise, Rebello A. Ferrante will celebrate his 99th birthday.

But that’s just one of the many facts about a marvelous milestone man, a living legend in fact, a war hero who recently received a huge honor and special award from Hospice Continuum Care of Rhode Island that read: “In honor of your years of service and sacrifice to our great nation the United States of America in this year 2022 we thank you for serving in the United States Army and protecting our country and defending our freedom. Today we honor and appreciate you.”

That certificate was presented by Hospice officials Mike Del Vecchio, Elise Larsson and Justin Machamer under a sparkling sunshine outside The Preserve, the most recent and pristine property on Akshay Talwar’s ever expanding Briarcliffe Campus in Johnston.

Amid applause and guitar music, Ferrante sat smiling in his wheelchair proudly holding an American flag and accepting the well-deserved citation. He was surrounded by friends and Briarcliffe officials as well as his best buddy Sal Disanto.

“Rebello and Sal have been friends since they moved in here,” Talwar said after the presentation. “Just look at their smiles; this some of the magic that happens here at The Preserve.”

However, that was a fraction of what may rank as the greatest day in the now one-year-old assisted and supportive independent living communities’ tenure.

The ceremony included short speeches and stories, some about when Ferrante told his parents — who immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s — “I gotta go fight for our country.”

And fight for the USA he did while serving under the famous U.S. General George Patton while being stationed in Morocco, Africa and later Italy. Ferrante survived two bouts of Malaria and received two Purple Hearts for injuries sustained in combat (he was hit by shrapnel during fighting) and he also received two assorted medals, including one for Good Conduct.

Rebello was born on Sept. 2, 1923, and was the oldest of five children. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in December, 1941, and along with one of his brothers was stationed in the Pacific after the Pearl Harbor attack. He served in the U.S. Army throughout World War II, from 1941 to 1945.

During the heart-warming ceremony, Rebello’s daughter Maria Bermann — who lives in Boulton, Massachusetts, and is extremely proud of dear ol’ dad’s awesome achievement — she was asked to show the impressively framed collection of his 11 distinguished medals and dog tags.

She also offered an outline of when Rebello came home from the war and returned to Providence then used his GI benefits to enroll at the University of Rhode Island where he majored in mechanical engineering. He received his BS degree and began working at the former Narragansett Electric Company — which was acquired by National Grid and then bought recently by PPL (the Ocean State’s power company is now called Rhode Island Energy) — and his job involved designing equipment for coal power stations.

He married his wife Mary Bertha in May, 1954, and together they built their home in Lincoln, from the ground up.

“My Dad’s father was also a talented stone mason,” Bermann, who was born in May 1954, related. “He actually helped my father build the physical structure of this home.”

Ferrante, as Bermann proudly noted, lived in his home from 1956 to 2022 — 66 years — and continued his career at National Grid for 63 years before retiring in 2013 at age 90.”

As Bermann explained: “Due to health reasons, Dad was no longer able to live at home safely and moved to The Preserve in March 2022.”

However, that hasn’t stopped Rebello Ferrante or Sal DiSanto — or other residents who now call The Preserve home — from forming new and impressively inseparable friendships.

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