92-Year-Old Veteran Eugene Fastook Continues To Serve His Bronx Community

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – What do you want to be when you grow up?

Most people settle on just one career. But not Eugene Fastook, who is still exploring all of his options at 92 years old.

When asked when he plans to retire, he laughed and replied, “I don’t.”

But it’s no laughing matter for the people of the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, where Fastook is a fixture. Four days a week, he volunteers as a captain of the auxiliary police program.

“He brings a wealth of knowledge and life experience,” Inspector Phylis Byrne told CBS2’s Dana Tyler.

Life experience he’s amassed over 92 years.

Son Eddie says his dad’s story could be straight out of a movie.

“When you tell people, they think you’re Forrest Gump,” he said.

You could say Fastook’s life is like a box of chocolates.

“My dad was a WWII veteran at Okinawa, he was on the U.S.S. Midway during the Korean War, and he was called to go to this top secret organization,” Eddie said.

The Brooklyn native always seems to be in the right place at the right time. When he was 16, he tried to join the U.S. Marine Corps, the recruiter suggested the Army, but he ended up in the Navy instead.

“So I signed the papers,” he said.

Setting in motion a course of events he never could have expected.

Tyler asked him about a particular photograph.

“That’s in the Philippines when MacArthur was coming ashore, and I’m in that picture there,” he said.

Today, we might call it photobombing. In the iconic World War II image of five-star Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Fastook can be seen in the far right.

“Three soaking wet sailors, and dad’s the one in the middle,” Eddie said.

“It was really something,” Eugene added.

Remember that top secret organization Eddie mentioned? Today we know it as NASA.

“Dad has his name on the moon,” Eddie said.

Fastook was recruited as one of the original engineers to work on the lunar modules for Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage. The modules carried astronauts to and from the surface of the moon, where they left a scroll that was signed by all the people who worked on the program.

But nothing has brought more pride or joy than his family. He was married to his wife Lydia for 66 years before her passing in 2015. They had two sons, James and Eddie.

“The values that were instilled by both my mom and my dad are just part of that generation,” Eddie said.

Those values encouraged James to become an attorney with the Bronx Family Court and Eddie to join the NYPD and later the New York Yankees as the executive director of team security.

It was his sons’ dedication to their jobs that inspired Fastook to yet his next calling.

“There’s no better advertisement for the auxiliary program than folks like Gene,” Byrne said.

Thirty six years later, he is still serving the residents of the Wakefield community as an auxiliary officer.

“People live here, they get a lot out of this country. Do something and give back,” Eugene said.

So what does the next chapter hold? He has lived quite a life.

“Interesting, interesting. I wouldn’t write a book about it,” he joked.

Fastook also drove astronaut John Glenn around while they worked together for the space program in Bethpage. Today, he still drives himself to his Bronx precinct where he mentors new recruits.

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