Benjamin Portaro, who came to Anmoore West Virginia from Italy as a toddler, fought the Nazis & later escaped from them, to turn 100 next month

Feb 22, 2021 500

Benjamin Portaro is closing in on a milestone achieved by fewer than 1% of Americans: He will mark his 100th birthday next month. But it almost ended 76 years ago for the Harrison Countian who was born in Italy, came to Anmoore as a toddler and went on to fight for the United States in the Battle of the Bulge.

It was in that desperate fight to stop the last-ditch German offensive that Portaro first would be wounded, and later captured. And within a few months, he was near starvation before he did something else that very few Americans have ever done: Succeeded in a daring break from his captors.

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