BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Motorcycle clubs from across the Lehigh Valley met in Bethlehem Tuesday night for a special celebration.
They took off from the parking lot of Lincoln Elementary School and made their way to Charles Kukoda’s home to wish him a happy 99th birthday.
“I feel really glad that some people like me that much that they would do that for me,” said Kukoda, who friends call “Cappy.”
Like is an understatement. Timothy Parsons organized the drive-by. He’s known Cappy since the early ’90s and hails him as a hero for what he went through in World War II.
“He volunteered to go in because he wanted to help this country and be a true American. That’s us, that’s the real deal, he’s a great guy,” Parsons said.
Cappy first started working at Bethlehem Steel after high school. At 24 he went overseas to fight in World War II and was involved in some of the biggest battles of the war, including the Battle of the Bulge which helped defeat the Nazis. Cappy was in a foxhole when that battle began.
“We were still surrounded by the German troops, so there must of been 9-10 of us. A colonel…said I’m going to walk you guys out of this trap, but he didn’t, he walked us into one,” Cappy said.
Cappy fought in that battle for nine days and luckily made it out alive. He returned home and married his wife Pauline in 1946. He worked at Bethlehem Steel until 1982 and was by his wife’s side when she passed away from breast cancer in 2002. As the motorcycles roared past in salute to him he reflected on his 99 years.
“I’m satisfied with my life, and if I go tomorrow I would say that I’m satisfied,” Cappy said.