LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Many U.S. veterans are still serving today, but their service is in different ways. Take James “Jim” Agati: He’s a World War II vet who’s making every day a little brighter, one shoe shine at a time.
“There’s nobody that shines better than me,” Agati said. “I’m the best shoe shiner in Vegas.”
Agati, who’s 95 years old, takes pride in his work. Day in and day out, he shines shoes for Goodfellows at Mandalay Bay. He never misses a beat.
“You got to look at it to see what it needs,” said Agati.
It’s that same kind of dedication Agati showed while serving our country. The World War II veteran was a part of the group of servicemen who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. That was 75 years ago.
“There was so much firing, that the shrapnel came down on my shoulders, red hot,” Agati described.
He also recalled when a bomb landed just feet away from his ship.
“I’ll never forget that,” Agati said. “A little bit more — I would have been toast.”
Though there were tough times, Jim says he finds hope through humor.
“When I was firing my 20-millimeter, my knees were shaking. I said, ‘stop that!’,” Agati laughed as he said.
Goodfellow’s CEO Shelley Bonner-Carson says she’s thankful to have worked with Agati for nearly a decade.
“I’m getting choked up,” Bonner-Carson explained. “We love you, and we thank you, and we honor you, and we are free because of you.”
Another one of Jim’s great qualities: He’s a straight shooter. He lets anyone know they need a shoe shine when he thinks they need one.
“I love to work,” Agati said.
Agati plans to keep working for the rest of his life and beyond.
“I’m going to ask Jesus; I hope there’s work in heaven,” he said.
The only thing that would keep him from working:
“I love this country, and I’ll volunteer again, and if there’s any fighting, I would go,” Agati said.
Mandalay Bay is owned by MGM Resorts. The company says it’s committed to actively recruiting military men and women. It currently employs several thousand veterans.