Grants Pass Veteran Celebrates 100th Birthday

He says the first 100 years are the hardest.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 11:28 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Richard Miller turned 100-years-old this week.

The American Legion celebrated their 100 year anniversary on Friday. Veterans at the Grants Pass American Legion thought there was no better way to celebrate 100 years than honoring a veteran who turned 100-years-old. Miller is the oldest male veteran in Josephine County.

Miller was drafted into the army in World War 2.

"I was supposed to get out in one year," Miller said. "But that war started and lasted for four years."

After the war, he worked for the post office in Los Angeles for 26 years. Miller walked five miles to deliver mail to 300 people every day.
He says he thinks that's why he's stayed healthy for so long.

His advice...
"Take life easy. The first hundred years are the hardest."

Miller has been married for 70 years and even still drives around. He drives his best friend Charles Gene Kettwig around all the time.

"They just renewed his drivers license for 8 more years," Kettwig told Newswatch12. 

Miller's granddaughter is one of four generations he's helped raise. Eileen Saia says her grandfather is her favorite person and that he is a special man who makes every person feel important.

"He's a good good man and a good good father," Saia said while tearing up.

The Grants Pass American Legion (GPAL) honored Miller and made him an official member of the legion. Now, Miller is the 24th World War 2 veteran GPAL member. They are all over 90-years-old.

The remaing 200 members are all veterans mostly over 80-years-old. Members told Newswatch12 they're trying to recruit young veterans as well, but struggle to get them interested in joining. Leaders at the GPAL say joining an American Legion is important for veterans. Legions allow veterans to meet and talk with other veterans that share similar experiences.

“To have a place to come to and socialize with other veterans is special," Gerald McMillan, an officer for GPAL, said. "They enjoy coming here and talking over old war stories."

He says it's a unique environment that can't be replicated. 

“Well we are here for the support of all veterans, whatever we can do to help them," McMillan said. 

He says you don't have to be a member to stop by GPAL. Guests are welcome to come in and see what it's all about before joining. In September, the GPAL will celebrate their 100th anniversary as well.

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