Amherst war veteran gets awards after 60 years

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – It took nearly 60 years, but Friday morning Amherst war veteran Vito “Vince” Caputi finally got his due for serving his country in time of war.

On this weekend, it was a triple treat for Caputi, a retired businessman, and his family: recognition for his heroic service in World War II, which came on his 93rd birthday, and it serves as a great Father’s Day present arranged by Caputi’s children.

After the war ended, former U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Vince Caputi headed home, started a business–first in Buffalo–and 23 years later, another business in Amherst.

When Caputi’s kids started asking what dad did in the war, they learned the records of his service were destroyed in a fire in 1974, so they turned to their Congressman, Rep. Brian Higgins, whose staff found that Caputi had earned 5 wartime medals.

During the presentation, at Amherst State Park in Williamsville, Caputi drew a laugh from the crowd when he was asked why it took so long to get his medals, “I have no idea–the way the government works.”

But Caputi’s son Bill said he gained some insight in the veterans’ mindset, when he accompanied his father on an Honor Flight, “It was like, ‘hey that is what we did. They told us to put our uniforms on and go to war’, and they did. Nobody said anything about how great they were. Most of them talked like it was nothing–no big deal, and that is how my dad always was.”

Caputi’s family said, those medals might not have been important for him and other war veterans, but they are part of his legacy, and the country’s legacy of World War Two, now known as “The Greatest Generation”.

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