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John Cannella bench pressing in the weight room at Senior Services Plus in Alton
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John Cannella holds his faithful companion, Max.
One of the hallmarks of those who achieve success in life is the desire and ability to set themselves apart from the crowd.
Setting and working toward goals lays the foundation for success at any age. John Cannella always has set himself apart.
Born and raised in St. Louis, Cannella enlisted in the Army in 1954 at the age of 19 after graduating from high school. With a desire to set himself apart, he enlisted to become a paratrooper.
“It was an elite outfit,” he explains.
He says he enlisted with four other friends. Their intention was to go through their service careers together, but they ended up being separated after basic training.
“I ended up going to airborne jump school training at Fort Campbell in Kentucky,” he explains.
After six months in the service, he was informed he needed to have a four-year enlistment to go to Japan and become part of the paratrooper unit. He re-enlisted for the four-year term so he spent a total of 4 1/2 years in the service.
Soon after going to Japan, the 101st Airborne Unit was reactivated and he was sent back to Fort Campbell in Kentucky to fill out the division. His family was still in St. Louis and he visited them frequently. He laughs when he says he was often on the road at 6 a.m., making it back in time for 7 a.m. reveille at the base.
After being discharged from the service in 1958, Cannella moved back to St. Louis, working there while living with a cousin. He moved here in 1962 when he married a girl from Alton. He and his wife, Caroline, were married for 50 years before she passed away two years ago. He has two daughters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He spends time with his family members frequently, often eating dinner at their homes. He also has a faithful companion named Max, a puppy he acquired about a year ago. Max is an energetic, friendly dog who loves to play and entertain guests.
Cannella spent his professional career in the heating and air-conditioning industry. He worked for a heating and air-conditioning manufacturer, then went into wholesaling and eventually into sales. He worked in sales for 40 years, retiring from Vogel Heating And Air Conditioning in 2002 after 22 years. He was retired for four months when he went back to work at Air Comfort for another six years, finally retiring for good at the age of 72.
At the age of 79, Cannella still sets himself apart by working out five days a week at Senior Services Plus in Alton, lifting weights and using the cardio machines. He says he started lifting weights 20 years ago and got up every morning at 5 a.m. to work out for many years. His physical conditioning is exceptional. He can bench press 165 pounds and says he often finds himself in better shape than people 20 years younger than him.
Cannella traveled on sales trips with his wife when he was younger and went to places such as Barbados, Antigua, Jamaica, Key West and on Caribbean cruises. He has always been active and says he often camped and canoed with his family when his kids were growing up. No one should doubt that life can be active and fulfilling during your later years. Keeping fit is often the key. Anyone looking for a role model for staying fit and energetic need look no further than John Cannella.