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WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday with blowout celebration

The entire community turned out to help George Runnels celebrate this milestone.

PLANT CITY, Fla. — World War II veteran George Runnels celebrated his 100th birthday Sunday.

Dozens of neighbors worked together to make the day extra special for a veteran who goes out of his way to make friends. Runnels still walks a mile every day and lives completely independently. 

For someone who achieves the unbelievable every day, he couldn't believe all the work that went into making his party special. 

"This is beautiful, I never expected anything like this," Runnels said as he looked at the room full of friends.

His neighbor Eva Hernandez organized the entire celebration. A task she said she was eager to take on.

 "It's a party, it's a party we're celebrating George's 100th year with us," Hernandez said. 

Runnels was the first friend Hernandez made when she moved to the neighborhood two years ago. When she told him that she didn't know anyone in the community, he told her that she now knew one person, him.

"It's very emotional. I love this man. I respect him. And I just wanted him to be so happy today. And for us to honor him. And for him to enjoy his big celebration that we are having just for him. So he could feel special," Hernandez said. 

As the 100-year-old thanked everyone in the packed hall for coming, he couldn't help but get choked up.

"Good neighbors. Good neighbors and friends. As I see you on the street each day, every day that I can get out, I thank God for you. You're the greatest people I've ever met. Ever." 

Credit: Madison Alworth

This 100-year-old has definitely met a lot of people. 

He lived through the Great Depression, fought in World War II, and had to say goodbye to his wife of 60 years. 

For someone who has been through so much, Runnels is one happy guy who appreciates each day.

"I'm making memories, I'm still making memories. That's what I live for. And I'm making beautiful memories here today," Runnels said.

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