World War II veteran celebrates 100th birthday at hospital where he volunteers

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TEANECK, N.J. - Herand Kafafian, a World War II veteran and Purple Heart recipient, celebrated his 100th birthday with a party at the hospital where he’s been volunteering for the past 15 years.

The World War II veteran celebrated with family members and co-workers at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he has volunteered in the facility’s gift shop for the past 15 years.

Many credit the part-time gig with keeping him going all these years.

“The visitors – they walk behind the register just to give him a hug because a lot of people know him,” Pat Finnegan, the gift shop’s manager, told WPIX. “All the employees know him, all the volunteers want to feed him food – they want to see him well.”

According to his family, this hometown hero shows no signs of slowing down.

“He still cooks at 100 years old,” his daughter Karen O’Mealy said. “He still makes his own dinner but sometimes we take dinner over but he cooks.”

The grandfather of three is the hospital’s oldest, active volunteer. He tells WPIX his claustrophobia is one of the reasons why he’s still kicking.

“By golly, I am scared as the devil to get locked up in a box six feet underground with a pile of salt on me,” Kafafian told reporters, receiving a laugh from family and friends around him.

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