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100-Year-Old Navy Veteran Joe Hernandez Hilario Honored by Pico Rivera

Hilario is a 55-year Pico Rivera resident, a Navy veteran, and the recipient of the World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic Pacific 2 stars. Hilario is seen here with (left) Pico Rivera Mayor Pro Tem John R. Garcia and Councilman Gustavo Camacho.

April 2, 2024

Pico Rivera resident Joe Hernandez Hilario was recently honored by the City Council on the occasion of his 100th birthday celebration. Vice Mayor John Garcia and Councilmember Gustavo Camacho presented Hilario with a proclamation from the city council during the birthday celebration at Pio Pico Rivera Women’s Club.

Joe grew up in East Los Angeles after moving from Texas to California when he was very young, attending grammar school all the way to high school, graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1942, making him a proud Mighty Rough Rider alum.

Hilario entered the United States Navy in December 1942 and was discharged in December 1945. During his stint with the Navy, he achieved the rank of Coxswain and was primarily responsible for driving navel landing craft. He was awarded the World War II Victory Medal and the Asiatic Pacific 2 stars for his service.

Since making Pico Rivera his home in 1969, Joe has been an active and cherished community member. He has worked as a poll worker alongside his wife during election season and volunteered with the Meals on Wheels program. His involvement with the Pico Rivera VFW and various senior organizations reflects his commitment to serving others and making a positive difference in the lives of those around him. Additionally, Joe’s dedication to his faith as a St. Xavier Catholic Church lector underscores his strong sense of community and spirituality.

Beyond his service and community involvement, Joe’s passion for learning and craftsmanship is truly inspiring. His love for reading and woodworking speaks volumes about his curiosity, creativity, and lifelong pursuit of knowledge. He uses his woodworking skills to build cabinets for the VFW Post, rocking horses, spice racks, and door stoppers for friends and family.

Joe still lives in the Hilario family home and enjoys spending time with his five children, 11 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

“It is with great pleasure and admiration that I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Joe Hernandez Hilario on the momentous occasion of his 100th birthday,” said John Garcia, Pico Rivera Vice Mayor. “On behalf of the entire City Council and the residents of Pico Rivera, I commend Joe for his remarkable milestone and extraordinary contributions to our community.

“Joe’s dedication and service to our country during his time in the United States Navy exemplify the highest ideals of patriotism and bravery. His commitment to duty and sacrifice has left an indelible mark on our nation’s history, and we are forever grateful for his service. We proudly salute Joe for his achievements and commend him for his unwavering devotion to our country.”

“As we celebrate Joe’s remarkable journey and mark this milestone occasion, let us reflect on the values of courage, resilience, and service that he embodies,” said Gustavo Camacho, Pico Rivera Councilmember. “Joe’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations to strive for excellence and make meaningful contributions to our community and country.”