Volunteers Honor World War II Veteran With Day of Action

Fernandes served as a gunman under General Patton in World War II

The flurry of activity inside a Farmers Branch warehouse Saturday was perhaps the most appropriate way for the Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas to honor  one of their own.

Just a few days before the group gathered for another day of making care packages to ship to soldiers overseas, one of their most beloved volunteers, Joe Fernandes, passed away.

"He was in the Army in Europe and nobody ever sent him a package, so he enjoyed doing this to help the boys overseas," said Joe's wife, Mary.

The couple was just a few months from celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. Mary said Joe was looking forward to working the assembly line once again even though he was sick.

"He loved this country and the service," she said. "He could hardly walk, but he still wanted to come."

Fernandes was a gunman in General Patton's Third Army. He marched across Germany and France during World War II. After he left the military, he met Mary, and the couple moved to New Hampshire where they had two sons, Michael and James.

Volunteering with the Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas was a family affair.

"This is where my dad was every time," Mike said, pointing across the table. "He's the one who held the box together and turned it for me to tape it. We know he is here in spirit today."

To honor Joe's service as a volunteer the cadets gave his family a plaque and an American flag.

"In honor of Joe Fernandes for his steadfast support and exemplary commitment to the Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas and our mission to support deployed military members serving in harms way. He has been a shining example of American values and the tradition of service. May his memory be a blessing for all of us. He will always be our "Sweet Joe," the inscription read.

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