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World War II Veteran celebrates 100th birthday

By Courtney Murphy,

2023-03-14

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BLAIR COUNTY, PA (WTAJ)—The Hollidaysburg Veterans Home officially celebrated a new centennial. Staff Sergeant Russell R. Stiffler celebrated his birthday Tuesday, March 14.

Stiffler joined the Army in 1944 during World War II. Where he served and got the rank of Staff Sergeant in 1946. He mainly worked in warehouses and drove trucks.

He obtained the Army of Occupations Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with a bronze star. After his service, he worked as a steel and ironwork laborer until 1977.

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Stiffler celebrated his day surrounded by friends, family, and Hollidaysburg Veteran Home staff. They gave him a warm welcome with a song and cake.

The staff also surprised Stiffler with his daughter. The staff noted the two haven’t seen each other in a long time. He started to tear up once he saw her.

Stiffler also received a birthday greeting from Governor Josh Shapiro and the first lady. Then he received a national, state, and district citation from Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“Everything was alright as far as I’m concerned,” Stiffler said. “I got a few surprises, but that comes with the deal.”

The Veterans Home staff said they love doing these kinds of celebrations. Interim Commandant Barry Lowen said it was a touching moment to see the reactions with his daughter.

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Additionally, it was emotional hearing Stiffler speak briefly about his time in service.

“To recognize the individuals that served our country,” Lowen said. “We’re so happy to provide the care they so well deserved, and when they reach milestones like this it’s a wonderful feeling for them to celebrate with them.”

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