August 28 – Happy Birthday Donato “Danny” Simiele


He was named Donato after his grandfather but growing up on the South Side of Amsterdam, he was Danny, the son of Molly DiCaprio Simiele. His dad Joe Simiele had died when he was just 5-years-old leaving his mom to raise him by herself with help from her siblings, Ralph and Anna.

Danny was a good kid growing up. He had a paper route and learned to play the piano but he could also be quite the prankster. He was known to toss water balloons at unsuspecting girls in the neighborhood and when he wanted to take it up a notch he’d throw fish eggs at them too. He was especially close to his cousin Rusty Simiele. He was also a good student at Wilbur Lynch High School and after he graduated from there in 1964 he enrolled at Cobleskill Ag & Tech. America’s military involvement in Vietnam was escalating at breakneck speed at this time and hundreds of thousands of young men Danny’s age were getting drafted into the service. As the only surviving male in his family, Danny didn’t have to worry about getting drafted but he felt as if he had an obligation to serve his country. So in 1966 he enlisted in the Army…

You can read the rest of my story about this Amsterdam-born hero in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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