OXFORD – Joseph Benenati was honored Wednesday at the New York State Veterans’ Home. Family members, State Troopers, city and county officials and friends from World War II attended a birthday celebration honoring Benenati. At 93 years old, Benenati is sharp as a tack and willing to recount the excitement of a life lived in service to his community and his country.
Benenati recalled his time in the state police, and his motivation for joining the Marine Corps during World War II. As part of the escort team accompanying President Franklin Roosevelt and his family on their visits to Hyde Park, he got to know the members of the Roosevelt family. It was the President’s son, Jim, whom Benenati credits for convincing him to join the Marines. “One day he said, ‘You would make a good Marine,’ and so I enlisted,” Benenati said.