By Ronnie Zamora
Joe Lopez can recall a time when serving in the military was the furthest thing from his mind. The idea of firing a rifle at an enemy was only a part of the childhood games he used to play with his brothers.
Lopez never imagined he’d find himself in Italy, engaged in a life-and-death firefight against German troops in a skirmish that would eventually earn him a Bronze Star for his heroism on the battlefield.
"Me and my brothers used to play cowboys and Indians, but we never thought about the military," Lopez said.