PLAINS, Pa. — Newswatch 16 serenaded John Swiderski of Wilkes-Barre when members at the VA Medical Center surprised him on the eve of his 100th birthday with a declaration and a cookie cake to mark the occasion.
"I'm excited for him, very excited," said John's daughter Patricia Goyne. "And I'm glad he was surprised. He really was. He didn't expect it."
John enlisted in the Army in 1942. He was a corporal in the Army, 4th Ranger Battalion. In World War II, he was stationed in North Africa until he invaded Sicily and Italy, where he was later captured and became a prisoner of war. He was released in 1945.
He told us the secret to a long life is to keep working.
"Because that's what keeps you alive. That's my opinion. I've worked since I was picking tomatoes for 10 cents an hour when I was a young boy, like 10,11,12 years old. And I never stopped until now. Yeah, you gotta keep working," he said.
But that's not all. His daughter tells Newswatch 16 he forgot to mention a shot or two of rum a day helps too. No more than two, though, he says after that, he starts to stumble.
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