95-Year-Old Vet Gets Awesome Tribute From Marathon Runners (Video)

3/7/14 12:38PM EST

95 Year Old Vet Gets Awesome Tribute From Marathon Runners Video 95 Year Old Vet Gets Awesome Tribute From Marathon Runners (Video)

screen shot via Tout

For some runners, completing a marathon is a life achievement. For others, it’s a yearly thing done to benefit charity and stay in shape. Most marathoners revel the idea of having their family and friends standing by cheering them on as they run. But to have a 95-year-old World War II veteran sit outside his home and wave and smile as you run by, that’s something truly special.

That’s exactly what happened last Sunday in San Jose, California during the 408K Race benefitting the Pat Tillman Foundation. Donning his military uniform, Veteran and nonagenarian Joe Bell, who’s home rests along the route of the race, stood outside to show his support to the runners.

But instead of smiling back and continuing on their run, many of the marathoners left the path to shake Bell’s hand and thank him for his service. San Jose Mercury reporter Julia Prodis Sulker, a neighbor of Bell’s, managed to capture footage of the exchanges whilst filming the race in her own yard.

Bell later told his neighbor that he’d “never got recognition in his life.” But dozens of handshakes and thousands of Internet clicks later, Joe Bell is now a hometown hero and national star.

Bell’s son, Matt, said of the event, “I thought the video caught a moment in time that was honest. There was nothing staged about it.”

Though Bell swims everyday and still attends veteran’s events wearing his uniform, Bell tells Sulek he doesn’t think he’ll live much longer. Regardless, the video captures a moment of genuine compassion shared among strangers and a man who’d never received recognition now blessed with a lifetime of gratitude.


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