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Jul 2, 2016 1:30 PM

Sanbornton WWII vets, best friends honored for service to town, country

SANBORNTON — Two World War II veterans got the surprise of a lifetime in Sanbornton Saturday as a bridge has been named in their honor.

The bridge is now marked by a sign bearing the names of the two veterans, Carmine Cioffi and Don Foudriat, on Black Brook Road. Cioffi served in the Marines and Foudriat in the Navy.

Family, friends and neighbors gathered to honor their service not just to their country, but also to their town.

“The guys are special,” said Army veteran and event organizer Doug Rasp. “Special, special, special to everyone here.”

The whole event was a complete surprise. Neighbors lined the road as Sanbornton police escorted the two veterans, who had no idea why they were being picked up.

“Oh, I tell you, it’s just unbelievable,” Cioffi said.

Foudriat and Cioffi, both 90 years old, have been best friends for 50 years but didn’t meet until after their service was over.

“Oh, great friends,” Foudriat said. “He and I are practically born on the same day, one day apart.”

Cioffi fought in the Battle of Okinawa in the Pacific theater from the day it started until the day it ended. Foudriat also served in the Pacific as a Landing Ship, Tank driver.

“[Foudriat] has told me a lot of stories,” Rasp said. “He drove LSTs and he dropped the soldiers on the beach in the Battle of the Pacific all over the islands.”

Family from all over New England gathered for the ceremony.

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