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Aging Well: Former Army Sgt. says lessons from military guide his life

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Domingo Los Banos with friend Joan White Domingo Los Banos with friend Joan White
KAPOLEI, Hawaii -

A man who stared death in the face more than once says it gave him a new lease on life. 92-year-old Domingo Los Banos carries his experiences from World War II though today. He says it's a big part of why he's Aging Well. 
 
In 1945, 19-year-old US Army Sgt. Domingo Los Banos was fighting in World War II. "I was a scout and I was in the Philippines, a member of the First Filipino Infantry Regiment," he says.
 
Los Banos says he was nearly killed several times, like in this face-off with a Japanese soldier. They were both running up a hill and "I was there one minute before him. I shot him. If he was there he would have shot me."
 
Death scared him. "I prayed to God. 'God, get me out of harms way and I shall become a teacher,'" he recalls.

God listened. Los Banos left the Army after his two year tour of duty and kept his promise. "That's the beginning of my journey in life," smiles Los Banos.
 
He taught around the state, ending up as a state Department of Education District Superintendent of the Leeward area. He and his wife of nearly 60 years, Mary, have four children.

It's been a good life, he says. "Spirit, mind, and body in balance: those three things have kept me over the years on target."


In 2016, he moved into Ilima at Leihano assisted living. Staffer Valerie Rickard knows him well. "Domingo is a delight, our mini celebrity. He's very social," she shares.

Those lessons from the First Filipino Infantry Regiment still guide him today. He explains what they are: "Laging Una, which means be the best. Be number one. Be proud of who you are. And whatever skill God gives you, share it with others. Develop a sharing heart."
 
The unit he served- continues to serve him well. Los Banos pauses to think, then states, "I've been thankful and grateful. I've had a wonderful, wonderful life."

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