JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Nearly a hundred people in Jackson gathered to celebrate a special World War Two veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor on his 100th birthday.
One of Herbert “Herb” Elfing’s friend said while some men in their 50s act 100, Herb is 100 and has more energy than any 50-year-old man. Celebrations that closed a part of West Cortland Avenue brought together the many communities Herb is a part of.
“It’s awesome, it’s just awesome. It’s almost indescribable,” said Elfing.
During his lifetime, Elfing has seen a lot. He served in the U.S. Army during World War Two. He was in Hawaii when the first shots of America’s involvement in the war rang out when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor.
After the war, he said he attended the University of Michigan on the GI Bill. That helped him land a job in Jackson. Since then, he’s been deeply connected to different community organizations who made sure to come out Saturday.
A drive-by parade featured city and county emergency vehicles, military trucks and motorcycles. Herb was even recognized by the National Square Dance Association for his birthday before getting on the dance floor with friends.
‘He has so many different groups; square dancers, the Kiwanis over there, the First United Methodist Church, the Vietnam vets, the motorcycles, and they never met, all of them. So, it was important to us that the day reflect his day to day. People who are there 365 days a the years,” said Annie Callahan, who helped organize the celebrations.
She said his involvement in and around Jackson has made him loved by many. Callahan said planning took months with help from others, like Ward Walling, another army veteran.
“Herb is very near and dear to our hearts, so we wanted to give him a celebration that was close to him, not a bunch of strangers he didn’t know,” said Walling.
What is Herb’s secret to living for a century? He said a big part is taking care of yourself.
“I really don’t have an open and shut case answer. I tell them I stay active within reason and without concentrating on one thing,” he said.
He said is advice for younger generations is to stay calm, make friend other than enemies.