(NEXSTAR) – Walt Disney World is celebrating Armed Forces Day by highlighting the achievements of a very special veteran — and no, it wasn’t a character who fought in one of the “Star Wars.”
In honor of the May 15 observance, Disney Parks is sharing a tribute to U.S. Navy veteran Alex Stromski, who not only enlisted during WWII at the age of 17, but also earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander during his decades-long career. Following his retirement in 1967, Stromski became an annual pass-holder at Disney World, and eventually applied for a job at the park more than 45 years later
“I loved how Walt had great respect for the military,” said Stromski, according to a Disney Parks Blog post. “I realized that this was something I wanted to be a part of, so I applied and got a full-time job at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in 2013.”
In addition to a profile at the Disney Parks Blog, Stromski recently assisted with a flag-raising ceremony in the “pre-dawn fog” of the Magic Kingdom, after which he was recognized by park leadership for his service. Stromski, who was described as an “outgoing, big-hearted hero” by the Disney Parks, was also given a shadowbox containing a flag that had flown over Disney World the previous day.
“I’m honored and humbled,” Stromski said, per the blog post.
These days, Stromski says he finds enjoyment in helping to “create the experiences” that he and his family enjoyed at Disney World over the years.
“I especially enjoy meeting the military families and veterans who visit us,” he said.
In addition to honoring Stromski, Walt Disney World is also planning to further support military members and veterans by hosting the Department of Defense Warrior Games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and by welcoming guests to the 2021 Veterans Institute Summit for workshops on recruiting, hiring and training veterans and military spouses.