A WWII veteran in Summerfield, North Carolina celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday.
On May 6, Philip Dixon commemorated his centennial with friends and family at the Liberty Wesleyan Church, Pastor Danny Janes told Fox News on Thursday, adding that Dixon has been a long-time “beloved” member of the congregation.
In light of his birthday, Janes said Dixon picked the hymns for Sunday’s service. But little to the veteran’s knowledge, the church had also planned various birthday surprises.
Summerfield Mayor Gail Dunham personally delivered a proclamation in Dixon’s honor, while Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., sent a letter congratulating the veteran. Other community leaders also wished Dixon a happy birthday, Janes said.
The church also presented Dixon with a “memorial booklet” and a crystal plaque, which paid tribute to the veteran. Dixon served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII as an air gunner, the pastor added.
Following the service, the congregation continued the celebration with balloons and cake.
Janes said Dixon was "moved” and “touched” by the celebration.
The 100-year-old has three living sons. Irene, his wife of 63 years, died nearly a decade ago. His only daughter passed in 1995.
While “Philip is in a place where he is physically feeble,” he is “very sharp mentally,” Janes said, adding that Dixon lives alone and drives himself to church every Sunday.
“He is extraordinary,” said Janes.
As for the secret to his long life? “Just keep breathing,” Dixon always says, the pastor added.