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88-year-old man comes out of retirement for “one more shift” as a firefighter

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BROOKFIELD -- An assisted living community in Brookfield helped a retired firefighter return to the fire house.

fire1The drive up on Monday, May 23rd must have been something else -- because it is a trip that has taken 30 years to make. After more than three decades, Lee Balistrieri came out of retirement for one more shift.

Balistrieri, now 88 years old, logged 31 years with the West Allis Fire Department.

"Very caring. Anything he can do for somebody, he'd be there. Typical fireman," said Tom Mannella, a family friend.

Lee Balistrieri

Lee Balistrieri

Balistrieri is a resident of the Silverado Care Community in Brookfield which specializes in hospice care and memory loss. Balistrieri was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last fall.

"I used to cook at the station," Balistrieri said.

Something about Monday's visit had Balistrieri flooded with memories.

Lee Balistrieri

Lee Balistrieri

"This is the most talkative he's been in many, many months," Mannella said.

It was a visit made even more memorable because Balistrieri was joined by his daughter and his wife, Gloria, who has also been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

"He's excited. He's familiar. It's a wonderful thing," Mannella said.

One of the areas the Silverado Care Community specializes in is taking these kinds of trips with their residents -- to places they have a connection with. The result was very exciting for the staff and family.


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