BOSTON (CBS) — Surrounded by family and friends, 93-year-old Lou Pasquale was overcome with emotion and tears as a street sign dedicated to him was unveiled in Dorchester Sunday. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” the World War II Army veteran said.

Loved ones were able to keep the recognition a surprise.

“The corner of Tenean Street and Freeport Street will be forever redefined as Lou Pasquale Square,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, standing in front of Boston Bowls in Dorchester. It’s a place where Lou worked for more than half a century.

It’s the type of recognition only a true humble hero deserves. As a veteran, Lou’s compassion for giving back came after a near-death experience during the war when he was only 19 years old. After that, he made a promise to God that if he survived, every day he would dedicate his life to helping someone else.

“We are honoring a true American hero,” said Walsh.

A square in Dorchester was named after World War II veteran Lou Pasquale (WBZ-TV)

Pasquale thanked others, though. “They’re wonderful people and they’ve given me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of almost 80 years ago,” he said.

The veteran has focused much of his life helping countless children, disabled veterans, and seniors.

Friend Robert White explained, “His demeanor has never changed one bit, always caring about other people.”

“Lou Pasquale was such a fixture here in the Dorchester community,” Walsh added. “He was involved in everything.”

Lou’s wife Terry has been by his side every step of the way. “I’m overwhelmed, I’m happy for Luigi because he dedicated his whole life to a cause and he got to fulfill it,” she said. “This is an incredible moment. He’s a great man”

Lou lives by a simple motto: work hard and helps others.

“There’s too much hate in the world today so please love one another,” he said.