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Resident Spotlight: John R.

John was born in Manville, Rhode Island, and grew up in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where he worked in a textile mill after graduating from high school. In February 1943, at the age of 19, John enlisted in the United States Army in Providence, Rhode Island, and served as a range finder in North Africa, Italy, France and Belgium during World War II.

John spent four years in the military, first in an anti-aircraft unit and later as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division. The 82nd Airborne is an infantry division specializing in parachute assault operations into denied areas. During his service, John performed three jumps into enemy territory and volunteered for the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

John’s bravery was recognized with several service awards, including a Purple Heart for a shrapnel injury and a Bronze Star for heroic achievement during combat. According to John, “being in the military was good training, and I believed in the mission to end the war.”

After the war, John returned to his mill job in Rhode Island. He later moved to the Washington, D.C., area, where he worked as a trolley conductor and then as a bus driver for what was then known as Capital Transit, the precursor of today’s Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority or Metro. John subsequently worked as a driver and sightseeing guide in the Washington area and drove chartered bus trips to New York City. He worked for Metro until his retirement in 1978.

John has two children, son Bruce (deceased) and daughter Laurie. Here at Kensington Park you can often find John engaged in our Havens activities programs, where he is a whiz at trivia, and delights his fellow residents with his wit and great sense of humor. We are so happy to have John as part of our Kensington Park family!