East Tennessee WW II veteran celebrates 104th birthday

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It was a day of celebration for a Tri-Cities war hero.

The oldest living veteran at Mountain Home VA Medical Center in Johnson City celebrated a milestone.

Former Army Sgt. Frank Head celebrated his 104th birthday surrounded by friends and family.

“If you ask me what I’ve contributed to life, ‘turn right and go straight in your life,’ and that will take you places,” said Head.

The World War II veteran served in New Guinea and the Philippines from 1943 to mid-1945.

“[It was] not only my duty,” he said, “but the greatest thing I ever did in my life was having an opportunity to do something for my country.”

He received handshakes, gifts from the children at Cornerstone Church in Abingdon and even a letter from Congressman Phil Rowe.

“Well I don’t know if you noticed or not,” said Frank’s daughter Judy Reed, “but it brought a tear to my eye, and it makes me so proud that people care enough to do that.”

There was cake and well wishes.

“Frank, he’s got such a peaceful personality and happy all the time,” said Thomas Kellum, a member of Rolling Thunder Chapter 4, who sometimes visits Head in the VA. “The man being a hero as he is and been through the hell he’s been through and still being here today to talk to us.”

Even stories about Frank were shared.

“For 365 days he looked forward to this day,” said Kellum, “now he’ll start 365 days looking for his 105 birthday and I hope we’re all here to see him reach that 105 birthday and many more.”

“I wish I could shake hands with every one of you and tell you I love you,” said Head, “but there’s too many, and again, I want to say, turn right and go straight.”

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