Kensington Place Makes World War II Army Rangers Final Days Special
D-Day or The Invasion of Normandy is known as the Allies’ greatest blow in World War II. And, Fiore “Sam” D’Amato, an elite Army Ranger from New Britain, Conn., was there for it.
As a clerk in the 2nd Battalion Headquarters Company, it was his job to be behind the front line by a day or two, so he could record the many deaths and send letters back home. “They didn’t want me in the line of fire,” said Sam, who was one of only 19 remaining Army Rangers to serve in World War II.
Sam was one of 14 children in a large Italian family, six of whom served in and survived World War II. He got drafted right out of high school. The Rangers were recruiting a clerk, and Sam was one of the few who could type, so he got the job.
In his three years of service, he would travel to Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France and Germany.
After returning home from the war, he became a floor manager for the W.T. Grant department store, where he met his future wife, Lillian. They would go on to have a son and daughter. He eventually joined Fafnir Bearing Company, working as a production manager there for 35 years.
In retirement, he became the Commander of his local VFW and spoke at local elementary schools. He also served as president of Timberlin Golf and the Stony Mill Condo Association, where he lived before moving to The Village at Kensington Place, a Benchmark assisted living and Mind & Memory community in Meriden, Conn.
“My dad was a born leader and always liked being in charge, busy and surrounded by people,” said his son, Tom D’Amato. “Before COVID, he was still golfing, bowling and driving at the age of 95. He loved the senior center and living at Kensington Place was like having the senior center in his home.”
On Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2021, The Village at Kensington Place made sure that Sam and their 22 other World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran residents received the recognition they deserved. In front of local media, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, Representatives Michael Quinn and Catherine Abercrombie, Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati and others honored their service with speeches and citations.
Four days later, on November 15, the community and Sam’s family were saddened when he passed away.
“What The Village did made dad so incredibly proud and happy, and that’s exactly how I want people to remember him,” said Tom.