By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – As family and friends gathered around her, Italia Victoria Caforio recently celebrated her 100th birthday at Westborough HealthCare, where she is a resident.
At her party, family members shared her story of patriotism and dedication to her country as a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Caforio worked as a staff accountant at the Norton Company (today Saint Gobain), in Worcester. She was actually working at the company when she saw a billboard with the classic “Uncle Sam” on it that said “I want you!” and decided to enlist.
Her mother, her family members noted, always wanted her to strive for “the hardest thing possible.” As her brother was enlisted in the Army, Carforio decided to enlist in the Marines.
Caforio entered the Marines on March 29, 1944 and began active service two months later. She was stationed in Washington D.C. at the Marine Corps. headquarters where she helped to process discharge papers. Eventually promoted to the rank of Sergeant, she completed her service in the Marines with an honorable discharge on Aug. 22, 1946.
Upon her discharge, she returned to the Norton Company where she worked until her retirement in November 1980, completing a tenure of 40 years.
Caforio was married to Robert Sullivan for 33 years before his death in 1992.
At her 100th birthday party she was also feted by members of the Metrowest Marine Corps League, who presented her with a citation of appreciation. The group then serenaded her as well with a rousing rendition of “The Marines Hymn”.
Also on hand to celebrate was State Rep. Carolyn Dykema who presented Caforio with a citation from the House of Representatives.
“You are an inspiration to all women, blazing a path for other female warriors,” Dykema said. “We are proud to follow in your footsteps.”