Local World War Two veteran celebrates his 101st birthday

A local World War Two veteran just celebrated his 101st birthday.
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 7:47 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center staff as well as family and a home care team celebrated a special birthday this Friday.

Vernon Dellinger - a local World War Two veteran - turned 101 years old.

One VA Medical Center Nurse said of the celebration, “I think any time that we get the honor and the privilege to recognize and celebrate a veteran, any veteran, especially a World War Two veteran, I think it’s a perfect opportunity to show them our appreciation for the sacrifice they made for our country and just to celebrate who he is as an individual.”

Vernon Dellinger may be a World War Two veteran but he describes himself as an every-day-joe.

He’s dedicated to his church, takes walks, and has a history of being a talented woodworker.

His wife of 30 years, Judy Dellinger, said, “I would describe him as a very talented man. He’s so gifted in many things. He’s worked with woodwork, he’s built a house, a lot of furniture.”

He even built a gun from scratch.

Mr. Dellinger said, “Yeah I built a lot of things in my life.”

In World War Two, he was a machinist.

He said the biggest stand out memory from the war was being on a ship for over a month.

“50 days I was on a ship. They lost my orders,” he said.

According to Mrs. Dellinger, the war built him into the man he is today.

“I am very proud of him. He shows his integrity and a lot of that I think he got from being in the war and he always has a lot of American spirit and attitude,” she said.

When Dellinger wasn’t building in the war, he was building a family which he continues to nurture.

Every day he holds his granddaughter for two hours while she naps.

“I watch her every day,” he said.

Mrs. Dellinger added, “He’s very nurturing. Never lets them out of his sight. He chases after her all day long.”

Mrs. Dellinger said her favorite memory of Vernon will always be how he stepped up as a father.

“When we got married, I had a five year old daughter and he was just so devoted to her and such a good father. I think that’s always going to be my favorite memory - is what a good father.”

Vernon said his family is what got him through the war.

If you’re wondering about his secret to a long life, well Mrs. Dellinger has a theory.

“He’s a hard worker and he’s busy every day. He’s never dormant. He’s always up and moving and I think that’s his secret and he does eat three cookies every morning for breakfast,” she said.

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