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101-year-old retired soldier, hospital volunteer, credits this soda for his longevity

Travis Air Force Base (United States Air Force/WikiCommons)

At age 101, hospital volunteer Eugene Petersen has certainly had his fair share of life lessons, tips and tricks. But he may have one that’s more curious than others: He credits a popular drink as one key to his longevity.

“Dr. Pepper,” he says without hesitation.

Staff at the David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base recently marked Petersen’s 101st birthday and his 59 years of service.

Petersen started volunteering at the medical center in 2010. “Mr. Gene,” as he is affectionately known, works shifts of four hours per day, three to five days per week, the base said on Tuesday.

“He is instrumental in assisting our Health Information Management office in maintaining 124,000 medical records for our 276,000 Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs eligible beneficiaries,” Lt. Col. Reni Angelova, 60th Medical Support Squadron commander, said in a statement.

“He shares his knowledge, experience and life with our staff and young Airmen. We truly appreciate his contribution to our Health Information Management mission and to David Grant Medical Center,” Angelova said.

Petersen was drafted in 1941 and served as a paratrooper in the Philippines during World War II. He retired from the military as a U.S. Army sergeant major, according to his daughter, retired U.S. Army Col. Linda Standage.

After leaving the Army, Peterson worked for 14 years with the U.S. Postal Service.

Asked about his longevity, Petersen said he enjoys working out at a gym. He likes to fish in his off time.

Standage told base communications staff that one of his secrets is “He doesn’t let any moss grow under him!”

“And Dr. Pepper!” Petersen added.


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