PARMA, Ohio — Members of the American Legion Post 572 in Parma are celebrating the birthday of a hero, and this is no ordinary celebration. It's a party a century in the making.
The veteran, Mike Zaderecky, turns 104 on Friday — which has been declared "Mike Zaderecky Day" in the city of Parma by Mayor Tim Degeeter.
He's a World War II veteran who patrolled the beaches at Normandy shortly after the landings in 1944. In 1945, Zaderecky returned home to Parma and its American Legion post.
He's believed to be the longest continuous member of the American Legion in Ohio and quite possibly the entire country.
"Mike is truly an inspiration, and he's also a great ambassador for the American Legion. People really look up to him and respect him, and everybody loves him," said fellow post member Tony Kessler.
Zaderecky is a hero still serving his community in Parma, and his birthday has drawn notice from all over, with scores of News 5 viewers sending him cards this week, and Sen. Sherrod Brown giving him a shout-out as well.
"You've been just an outstanding citizen, patriot and were proud of you—so happy birthday, Mike," Brown said.
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