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Assisted living care honors 94-year-old veteran and war hero, Francis O'Connell


This holiday weekend Watercrest St. Lucie West Assisted Living and Memory Care honors the military service of 94-year-old resident and war hero, Francis O'Connell.

Watercrest Senior Living Group

Press Release


At 94 years of age, United States Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Francis O'Connell spends his days living an active lifestyle in the luxury senior living community of Watercrest St. Lucie West in Port St. Lucie, Florida. After decades of serving his country in combat and leadership, O'Connell now finds the time to partake in entertainment and socializing with his fellow residents, enjoying his water-view apartment adorned with military medals and accommodations.


"Our residents and associates here at Watercrest St. Lucie West truly interact as a family, and we could not be prouder of our resident hero Francis O'Connell for his outstanding military service and dedication to our country," says Diann McDonough, Community Relations Director at Watercrest St. Lucie West.

After graduating from high school, O'Connell enlisted in the Army and joined the 45th Infantry Division. His unit took part in three intense, but victorious amphibious assault landings in Italy from 1943-1944. During his fourth assault in September of 1944, O'Connell and his unit were surrounded by Panzer tanks and German infantry and taken prisoner for 9 months until they were freed by Allied forces. He returned home, weighing only 80 pounds and spent 3 months in a hospital recovering from malnutrition.

A devoutly religious man, Francis O'Connell never wavered in his belief that, "he survived the war and being a P.O.W. through the power of prayer from his mother, Theresa O'Connell."

After his rehabilitation, O'Connell earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Brown University and rejoined the Army in 1949 with a promotion to Warrant Officer. He served in the Intelligence Division in numerous duty stations in the U.S. and internationally in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Brazil until his retirement from the Army in 1984. He continued in the 63rd Division of the U.S. Army Reserves as a Personnel Officer until 1989.

Francis O'Connell joined the Watercrest family as a resident in March of 2022 and greatly enjoy his new home and newfound friendships in the community. Watercrest St. Lucie West is well-known in the St. Lucie area for their outstanding commitment to community partnerships, fundraising involvement, and hosting of social events throughout the year. From their annual Walk to End Alzheimer's event, to the ceremonies honoring U.S. Veterans, or the roaring Mardi Gras celebrations, the Watercrest St. Lucie West team ensures that residents, family members and guests experience engagement, interaction, recreation and culinary delight.

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