Online Originals: Beaufort County veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Online Originals

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) A Beaufort county veteran was surrounded by friends, family and his healthcare team as happy birthday rang through the halls at the Greenville VA clinic.

Harlan Mackrendrick is 100 years old, yet he still feels young.

“Well…like I was 14 again!” said Mackendrick.

The Army veteran served during WWII with the Signal Corps.

Years late he’s still active, just in a different way.

He kayaks, volunteers at a homeless shelter and is an important member of his church.

“And in between, I take my dog to the dog park,” said Mackendrick.

Harlan is the first of many centurion birthdays expected in the North Carolina VA system this year.

“We have a number of centurion veterans and I have a special place in my heart for those veterans,” said Christie Emler, the deputy chief of staff for the Durham VA healthcare center.

“I’ve heard that we may have the most 100-year-old veterans in this area, in the Greenville area in the country,” said Emler.

As for joining this exclusive club, Harlan says the secret to turning 100 is to know that mothers are always right!

“When I got drafted, my parents came to the railroad station to bid me goodbye. My mother handed me a bottle of vitamin pills and she said ‘you take one of those every morning.’ and I said ‘yes mom’.”

harlan mackendrick

This celebration came a couple of days early as Harlan officially turns 100 on Saturday, January 18th.

He hopes to go kayaking in the morning in Washington and spend the rest of the day with his dog, Margie, and the rest of his family.

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