Local World War II veteran celebrates his 100th birthday

SPOKANE, Wash. – A local World War II veteran celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday.

Donald Hitzel said living this long is an honor and his great family and group of friends keep him going.

Hitzel was born in a small town in South Dakota, but made his way to Spokane during the Great Depression.

“My parents sold everything and we came west, and worked in the apples,” he said.

Hitzel served in the South Pacific from 1944 through the end of the war in 1945.

He said everyone was really excited the day the war ended and it was a wonderful feeling to know that they got to go home.