World War II vet awarded Congressional Gold Medal after 71 years of service

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LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10)- A World War II veteran received a well-deserved medal for her dedication to our nation on Saturday night.

The Fort William Henry Conference Center was packed with those who came to honor Colonel Johnnie Pantanelli including Congresswoman Elise Stefanik who presented the award.

91-year-old Pantanelli was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by Congress. She has given 71 years of her life to the Civil Air Patrol.

Pantanelli says she considers it an honor and a privilege just to be able to serve. “To me it’s wonderful and it’s a thing I didn’t expect, but it’s rewarding in every way.”

Pantanelli says she accomplished a lot throughout her over seven decades in the Civil Air Patrol but the best reward is watching the cadets evolve.  “It’s such a great feeling. I get such jollies from, you know, from that and then they come back after they’ve been out in the world and done all kinds of things and they say ‘thank you for helping me’ and that’s where you get your real jollies.”

She even took time out of a night dedicated to her to acknowledge the cadets.

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