MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Nearly a century ago, Joseph and Catherine Romeo settled down in Shinnston, West Virginia from their birthplace of Italy.
The couple had 11 children: four daughters and seven sons. While the family lived in Shinnston, World War II was battling overseas, and the U.S. needed soldiers to fight.
“All seven of the brothers enlisted, six of them actually were in WWII, and five of them saw combat at the same time,” said Rachel Puccio, great-granddaughter of Joseph and Catherine.
While enlisting in the military wasn’t uncommon in this time period, something about the family was different compared to others.
“These six stars represent each son that returned home, and that was presented to my great-grandmother, Catherine,” Puccio said. That means every brother who fought in WWII came home alive after fighting for the entire length of the war.
“It’s a very unique story because history shows that not very many families can say this about their family,” Puccio said.
Those brothers were John, Sam, Frank, Jack, Joe, Tom and Rachel’s grandfather, Tony.
“I’m pretty sure they were all in the U.S. Army. I do know that my grandfather, Tony, was a spotter, and he actually went from Africa to Germany and suffered malaria twice,” Puccio said. “I know, I think his brother Sam and maybe Frank served in the Battle of the Bulge. So, it’s pretty remarkable that all six of them actually made it home safe.”
Puccio’s grandfather, Tony, also thought it was remarkable and made sure to let his parents know.
“He wrote in the plaque how proud he was of his parents because he could not imagine the tremendous stress and worry that they actually had to feel every day,” Puccio said.
The plaque, along with photos of all seven brothers, hangs in the lobby of the family business, Joe Romeo’s I-79 Honda in Morgantown.
“It’s very much a traditional, Italian business. We yell at each other sometimes, but we try to keep that at a minimum as much as we can, especially that we’re older. But, never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure,” Puccio said.