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FVF Board Member in Action
When Fernando (Nando) Roque was born in 1921, the world was reeling from the Spanish Flu pandemic. He was spared from the pandemic then and from the pandemic now, exactly 100 years later. He went on to join the military and was the lone survivor of his battalion – all of whom fell victim to WWII. He is celebrating another blessing from God as he turns 100 years old on April 1st, 2021.

Nando will be honored for his 100th birthday on Easter weekend this year by his family, most of whom have not been able to visit him since the 2019 holiday season due to the pandemic. Other than scheduled doctor visits and the occasional food shopping excursion Nando has spent the pandemic alone at home.

FVF Board Member in Action
A few short weeks ago a neighbor was kind enough to take him to the local VA where he was able to receive his coronavirus vaccine. Not asking for much, and since he is now vaccinated, his wishes for the big day are to spend time with his family and play a few good games of competitive Dominos. This will be the first time in nearly a year and a half that the centennial will be able to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren in person.

Nando, who lives alone in his Valrico home, has enjoyed a full life. He met and married the love of his life, Julia, shortly after returning from his tour of duty. Julia passed in 2015. Together they raised 4 children (Evelyn, Fernando Jr, Ronald and Kenneth) who continued his legacy adding 6 children of their own (Teddy, Albert, Violet, Veruchka, Gisele and Salina). His grandchildren went on to continue the family expansion giving Nando his great-grandchildren. Even one of his great-grandchildren has become a parent, adding a great-great granddaughter to his family tree.

He was a Gunner in the U.S. Army from 1940 – 1943 during World War II. The story of his military career is peppered with the light of a guardian angel. The story, as he tells it, goes like this…. Stationed in Europe during WWII, he was among a battalion of reinforcements preparing to head out to fight with the Allies in Germany. Always a little mischievous, Nando had gotten himself into a bit of trouble after mouthing off to a superior. The punishment was to collect and replace shot up targets during the battalion’s target practice. One of the rounds ricochets off the target and grazed him. He was sent to the infirmary and missed his scheduled deployment to Germany with his brothers in arms. He said that what he did most while in Germany was pray – a lot. His prayers were heard because not a single soul returned from that deployment, they were all killed in action. This punishment saved his life and paved the way for nearly 25 of his descendants to be born.

He moved to New York City in 1943. Most of his career was spent working in the Bronx hospital system before his retirement and move to Florida in 1997. Since then, most of his family has also relocated to Florida. On Saturday, April 3rd, the family will spend the day together at his granddaughter’s home in Port St. Lucie properly celebrating the centurion and we would love for you to join us and/or cover this beautiful, uplifting story.