Community holds surprise parade to celebrate WWII veteran’s 100th birthday

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CHESTER, Ill. (KFVS) – Finding the perfect birthday gift can be difficult. Especially when it comes to a milestone birthday.

VFW Post 3553 in Chester, Illinois, knew they wanted to celebrate one of their one with an event to show their appreciation and love for a very special man.

The post organized a surprise Drive-by Honk Parade for World War II veteran Robert Mueller to celebrate his 100th birthday.

When word about the parade spread around town, many in the community also wanted to participate.

Robert Mueller of Chester, Illinois celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday, July 14 with a...
Robert Mueller of Chester, Illinois celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday, July 14 with a parade just for him.(KFVS)

With a police escort, antique cars, tractors, fire trucks and other vehicles lined up Wednesday morning, July 14 and drove past Mueller’s home on Palestine Road.

Friends and Family from as far away as St. Charles, Mo. came to celebrate with him, but one family member who didn’t have to drive so far was his “baby” brother, Ray Mueller, who is 95 years old and also his next door neighbor.

Robert Mueller of Chester, Illinois celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday, July 14 with a...
Robert Mueller of Chester, Illinois celebrated his 100th birthday on Wednesday, July 14 with a parade just for him.(KFVS)

After the parade, a celebration luncheon, with cake, was held at the VFW.

Family said Mueller’s age does not slow him down.

When asked what his secret to living a long, healthy life is, he said, “I think I was blessed from above. Stay active and keep going. There were times when things didn’t go very good, and I wait a little while, and a door opened up and something come up better than it was before.”

His brother chimed in and said it’s because he eats a banana every day.

Robert and Ray operate and call bingo at the VFW. It’s something they have both done for the past 20 years.

“The VFW had a bingo last night and they all got up and sang happy birthday to me,” Mueller said.

The brothers also help take other seniors in the community to church.

Robert also likes to share stories about the history of Chester, the home of Popeye the Sailor Man.

He can remember the real-life people from which the characters were based on.

The celebrations continue later this week with a party on Saturday for those who couldn’t make the parade on Wednesday morning.

Copyright 2021 KFVS. All rights reserved.



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