At 101, this WWII veteran keeps getting surprises
CHICAGO—Virginia Axibal received a text from her sister Carmelita from an Olive Garden Restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, where their father, Dominador L. Soriano, was being given a treat to mark his 101st Year birthday May 3. Mr. Soriano stays with her daughter, Virginia, and her family during the warmer months of the year in Chicago where weather in the 40 degrees in May is still common. But her two sisters, Leah Brickman and Carmelita Haverly, who live with their families in San Antonio take over the care of their father during the cold season.
The widowed centenarian has 11 children. He is one of the few surviving veterans of World War II. In 1938, Mr. Soriano joined the Philippine Army under the USAFFE command of General Douglas MacArthur. In 1942, he was captured and tortured by the Japanese Imperial Army in Cebu. When he was released he joined the guerrillas. His war exploits were duly documented and he is one of the recipients of the Purple Heart.
Surprise from Manila
Even the San Antonio City Council took notice of his war service and came out with a certificate of citation on his 101st birthday. Seven members of his family were with him at the celebration at Olive Garden. The day was particularly special for all of them because his son in the Philippines recently informed his sisters here that their dad will be a recipient of a P100,000 Centenarian gift check from Mayor Erap Estrada’s Office of Senior Citizens in Manila.
But wait there’s some more. When his daughter were ready to pay the evening’s meal tab, the waiter informed them that an anonymous diner paid the bill for the whole party in appreciation for Mr. Soriano’s service to his country.
Olive Garden surprise
Mr. Soriano and his children were so taken aback and only after they digested the unexpected treat that they shared the good news around. Virginia and her husband Winston, also a retired U.S. Serviceman, graciously shared the news and provided a brief background of the WWII hero.
After his release from the Army in 1946, her father took up law at Philippine Law School and he passed the BAR in 1950 and was subsequently sworn in before the Supreme Court. He practiced law in Mindanao where he raised his family. Labor Law was his line of expertise and he excelled in collective bargaining.
In 1960, he was sent by the National Economic Council and the forerunner of the USAID to Harvard Law School for a six-month study on Trade Industry and Labor Relations legal issues. He was active in his law practice well into the early years of this century. A little over ten years ago, he came over to be with his children who migrated to the states.
This centenarian certainly lived a fruitful life. We salute you, sir, and happy many returns!