Good Deeds | Uplifting

WW2 Vet Didn't Like The Way His Town Was Run, So He Decided To Change It

It's never too late to make an impact on your community when you feel passionate about something.

Vito Perillo is a living example of that. He was upset about the way his town was being run, so that's when he decided to run for mayor at the age of 93.

The World War II Navy veteran ended up beating out the 63-year-old incumbent and taking office in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

Perillo has been living in Tinton Falls for more than 50 years and promised to lower taxes and provide more transparency to residents.

"As mayor, I will ensure your voice is heard when it comes to making important financial decisions and create a culture of accountability," he said in a video posted to his Facebook page in October.

It was two lawsuits involving the borough's police department that ended up costing the town a reported $1.1 million and sparked the senior's motivation to get involved in politics.

He fought hard on the campaign trail and reportedly wore out two pairs of shoes by going door-to-door campaigning.

“I've been a fighter all my life. At 13, I was fighting for my family's next meal, shining shoes on street corners in the Bronx. By 17, I was fighting in the ring as an amateur boxer, with a dream of making it to prime time. That dream was cut short at 19 when I was fighting for my country in the South Pacific. I have always fought for what I believe in, and now I want to fight for the citizens of Tinton Falls as mayor," he said.

Before the polls opened, he shared an inspirational message on his Facebook page.

“Win or Lose today, I feel so thankful for the tremendous support I have received and the life-long connections I have made on the campaign trail with other residents of our town,” he wrote.

He had a lot of support, not just by the community, but from his family as well.

“If anyone’s 93-year-old grandfather came to them and said, ‘I want to run for mayor,’ they would think he was a bit crazy,” says Perillo’s grandson, Michael Perillo-Gentile, 28. “But they don’t know my grandfather.”

Luckily for the veteran, who served for the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific, he didn't need to worry about losing.

"They thought my plans made good sense," he told CNN. "They believed in my message."

He took his victory with 53% of the vote.

“We took the first step in creating a new and inclusive form of government in Tinton Falls.” He went on to say, “Tonight transparency, accountability and community empowerment won out, and I can’t wait to get started working as hard as I can for all of the great residents of this town!”

Now that Perillo has been elected, he will be able to serve his four-year term, making him 97 when he will get to decide if he wants to run again or go back into retirement.

Perillo lost his wife of 64 years, Mamie, three years ago. He is a father of two daughters, a grandfather and great-grandfather.

To him, age is really just a number.

“If you want something bad enough and you work hard enough you can achieve your goals,” Perillo says.  “You gotta keep active and not sit around all day.”

Congratulations on the win!

Source: AARP / CNN / People