Local veteran celebrates 100th birthday, honored by state leaders

NOW: Local veteran celebrates 100th birthday, honored by state leaders

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. --- A very special birthday celebration for a local veteran took place Saturday afternoon in Cassopolis.

“A hundred years old but I don’t feel like I’m over 70,” says George Tabbert Senior of Niles.

Tabbert celebrated his 100th birthday surrounded by his big, loving family.

“He’s a treasure, really,” says his eldest child and only daughter, Kathy VanLue. “We all brag on him to everyone.”

His birthday, February 9th, marks the day he was drafted into the army as a 20-year-old, 80 years to the day.

“I went into the service right at my birthday, February 9th, 1943,” Tabbert remembers. “I was in for three years, one month, and seven days.”

Tabbert served those three years during the World War II era, where he was part of the ‘BlackHawk Division’, spending his last year of service deployed in Europe then Japan. He attained the rank of Sergeant before being honorably discharged in 1946.

His service has been commended and honored by former president Barack Obama; and for his birthday, he received a special tribute form the state of Michigan, signed by state Representative Brad Paquette and state Senator Johnathan Lindsey.

“It was a really great experience,” says Tabbert.

Among the military honors and memorabilia were old photos of George with his family. He’s the only one still living out of his eight siblings.

“I miss them, I miss all of them,” Tabbert says.

He says it makes him happy to revisit those photos and relive the many memories.

“Just to think back at the life he led when he was born up through now, all the amazing things he has seen,” VanLue says.

Tabbert’s advice for living a century, besides not smoking, is to live every day like it’s your last.

“I enjoy that he’s enjoying life yet,” says VanLue. “It’s just wonderful.”

“Just a lot of happy, happy days,” Tabbert recalls with a smile on his face.

His age does not stop him one bit; Tabbert helps run bingo every Wednesday evening at the Cassopolis VFW. He also says him and his 95-year-old fiancée frequent the casino where they win big! Now that he’s 100, his next goal is to make it to 110. His family has no doubt he’ll make it another decade.

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