Runners give amazing, spontaneous tribute to 95-year-old veteran during race

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Dozens of runners participating in a San Jose, Calif. 8-kilometer charity race took a spontaneous detour to thank a 95-year-old World War II veteran who came out to cheer them on.

Joe Bell, 95, dressed in his military uniform, stood outside his home and clapped as the runners passed by in the annual 408K Race.

San Jose Mercury News reporter Julia Prodis Sulek filmed the touching salute.

“I saw all these runners going off course from the street onto the sidewalk and wondered why. So I looked further and saw Joe set up out there. The runners were going up to him to thank him for his service,” Sulek told ABC News. “It was really beautiful.”

The event’s charity partner is the Pat Tillman Foundation, which funds scholarships for military veterans and their spouses.

The Tillman Foundation is named for the former NFL player killed while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan in 2002.