WAUSAU (WAOW) -- November's Jefferson Award winner has touched the lives of thousands of people. John Pellegrino of Wausau is a tireless volunteer who spends his time honoring members of the military.
Pellegrino is proud of his volunteer work and of giving back to the community.
“That's what our country was built on, that teamwork and doing things together," said Pellegrino.
Pellegrino knows all about love of country after serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
"I enjoyed my time in the service and I turned around and give back to the 58,000 brothers and sisters who didn't come home and all veterans."
He is an active member of American Legion Post 10 in Wausau, serving as honor guard commander.
Pellegrino has organized honor guards and taken part in nearly 1,300 military funerals – about 70 a year.
“We want them to be proud of their family members that served for our country,” he said.
Then there are dozens of requests for color guards, like the ones who gather to send-off and welcome home veterans taking part in Never Forgotten Honor Flights, where veterans travel to the nation's capital to see war memorials built in their honor.
“They need to be honored for what they did for our country and this is where I am at. I do it for that," Pellegrino told Newsline 9.
In addition to military volunteer work and organizing activities honoring our flag, Pellegrino is active in a boy scout council, overseeing 49 scouting units. He says he wouldn't have it any other way and encourages others to find what they love and give back by helping others.
“Anybody who can volunteer whether it be a soup kitchen or shoveling snow for someone who can't shovel, do it. Help 'em."