FAIRFIELD - A late local grocer is said to have played a role in the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Japan 68 years ago today.

Nathan Safferstein, who passed away this winter, was recruited to be a part of the Manhattan Project while managing a Fairfield grocery store.

Safferstein was required to traveled to Los Alamos, N.M., where he was told to build the first atom bomb with around 100 other men. Safferstein's family says he was also required to spy on the scientists the government had entrusted with the work.

When the atom bomb was completed, Safferstein was required to travel to the Pacific to monitor it before it was dropped. He was also to assess the damage it had left behind.

Safferstein was awarded the military's Bronze Star Medal for heroism and offered a job as an agent with what would become the CIA. He declined, opting to marry the girl of his dreams, raise a family and return to the grocery store business.

More than a dozen people were imprisoned or executed for leaking classified documents during the Manhattan Project. Safferstein told his family that he never caught anyone leaking secrets on his watch.