MUNSTER | Two local veterans reunited by The Times' Korean War Veterans History Project were the guests of honor Monday at a Veterans Day luncheon hosted by Hartsfield Village.
Nanette Mata, recreation and transportation director for Hartsfield, told the veterans who live at the independent living community of reading about the reunion in the The Times on Sunday.
Ted Erceg, of Valparaiso, and Joe Pupillo, of Dyer, grew up a block away from each other in Gary's Kirk Yard neighborhood. The pair ran into each other on a road in the Korean War 7,000 miles from home and didn't see each other for 63 years until The Times reunited them last week.
"It brought tears to my eyes," Mata said of the story. "... After reading that, I had to get in contact to invite them to our lunch today."
Pupillo addressed the veterans at the event and urged them to rise above life's challenges.
"Walk like there's 200 more tomorrows or 2,000 more tomorrows," Pupillo said. "That's what I do."
Mata thanked all of the veterans in the room for their service.
"You all have a special story to tell," she said. "We that are not veterans want to say thank you for all you've done to help us live in a free country."