Collier County’s oldest WWII veteran receives a gift he didn’t expect

It was a day full of surprises for a Southwest Florida Purple Heart hero. Oliver Marcelli, 97, and his wife just got a free, new air conditioning unit. He also just found out, he is the oldest living World War II veteran in Collier County.

“We’ve been married 75 years and we still love one another,” Oliver said. “She’s not doing very well.”

Oliver spends his days taking care of his wife, Mary, of 75 years.

“We just wanted to tell the world we still love one another,” Oliver said. “We have our quarrels each and every day, but before I tuck her into bed at night, I make sure she’s tucked in real tight.”

When he is not taking care of Mary, he likes to talk about his time as a Marine. It is December 1941 as Oliver gets ready to return home for Christmas.

“A top sergeant was on the telephone and he put the telephone down and he said to me, ‘Oliver Marcelli,’ I said, ‘yes,’ he said ‘the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor and all leaves are canceled.'”

“How do you feel about being the oldest living WWII vet in Collier County?” Morgan Rynor, WINK News reporter.

“I am?” Oliver said. “Geez, you mean to tell me I made it to 97 years. I can’t believe that!”

That is not the only surprise he learned Wednesday. Two weeks ago, he found an issue with his air-conditioner and learned he needs to replace his entire system. But as a fellow Marine, Ruddy Azcui got his employer, One Hour Air Conditioning, to help.

“We replacing the entire air-conditioning for free at no charge to Mr. Marcelli,” Azcui said.

While Oliver does not think he deserves it, he is beyond words, especially as the weather will be heating up in the next couple of weeks.

“They are doing one hell of a job,” Oliver said, “and I don’t know how the hell to thank them.”

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Michael Mora
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