99-year-old veteran throws out first pitch

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Charles Trinca is celebrating his 99th birthday by checking off a longtime bucket-list item.

“I’m very excited,” said Trinca ahead of the game.

The Buffalo Bisons are honoring the Buffalo-born baseball fan as the V.A. Veteran of the Game.

Trinca enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1941 at 24-years-old.

“I wanted to go in the worst way,” said the vet, adding his friends were all serving so he wanted to, too. “My country needed me, so I went.”

During World War 2, Trinca was a Seaman First Class, serving on a landing craft boat, doing tours around the pacific islands.

“We delivered packages and whatever else to other ships and repaired other ships.”

He still remembers what life was like aboard the service ship during the war.

“It’s only been 70 years!” he says laughing.

After seven decades, some moments still hurt to remember.

“I caused one man to die,” said Trinca, holding back tears. “He took my place. He took an extra trip with the LCBP and never came back.”

Trinca says his wife of 69 years is his support system, helping him get through his nightmares he still struggles with after all this time. Another way the Veterans Affairs Department has taught him to cope — looking at all the good things going on in his life. One of those, is this milestone birthday and the way he’s celebrating – throwing out the first pitch.

“Throwing a ball, for me, is quite a chore.”

It is a task but one he wasn’t going to turn down. So Trinca began training and practicing. And along the way, sharing his secret to life.

“I eat a lot of pasta,” laughs the veteran. “I walk and I exercise.”

Trinca’s doctors at the V.A. gave him the all-clear and then he took the mound – making his longtime dream a reality.

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