GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Wayne Trimpe celebrated his 100th birthday surrounded by friends and family.
“I just don’t believe it’s happening. It’s wonderful," Trimpe said.
Turning 100 isn’t the only unbelievable thing he’s accomplished. Surrounded by several generations Saturday afternoon, Trimpe had stories to share from his century of experience, including playing high school football with a young Gerald Ford.
Trimpe spent time on both the football field and the battlefield.
“I got drafted eight months before we went to war.”
Trimpe said he served in World War II and can still vividly recall seeing German torpedo planes approaching his soldiers.
“They had taken the machine guns off of their tanks and put them along our ship like this way forward on each side," Trimpe said with a smile. "They shot down three planes.”
After being stationed in northern Africa, Italy and France, Trimpe returned home to get married and start a family. He owned his own business and even skied competitively until the age of 91.
At this stage in his life, he finds joy in simplicity; going without some modern staples, like television. He said his secret to making it through a century is a simple one.
“My whole life was just thinking positive and it worked out for me," he said.
In April, Trimpe and his family will travel to Washington D.C. as part of the Honor Flight Network so he can visit war memorials.