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Denair World War II vet turns 100
World War II vet pic
Byron Reinhold, a World War II veteran and Hilmar High School graduate, will celebrate his 100th birthday on Nov. 7. - photo by Photo Contributed

To say one has lived an entire century is an astonishing feat, but on Nov. 7, Denair resident and World War II veteran Byron Reinhold will celebrate the milestone as he turns 100 years old.

“I don’t believe it,” said Reinhold, who said that some days he feels like he’s 110.

“You don’t look 110,” said Reinhold’s stepdaughter, Kathy Mccoy. “He tells everyone he’s only turning 89.”

Reinhold was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1916 and moved to Hilmar with his family when he was seven years old. He learned the skill of carpentry from his father, who helped build Milliken Bridge in Stevinson, and worked as a carpenter both before and after serving in the Second World War.

Reinhold was living in Turlock in 1942 when he decided to enlist in the Army "to serve our country."

He completed two years of mechanical training at Camp Kohler in California and at Camp Crowder in Missouri before he was shipped to England in 1944. That year, Reinhold also traveled to France where he and the 93rd Signal Battalion supported the forces deployed to Normandy.

In 1945, he was relocated to Germany where he served in the 3rd Army under the command of General George Patton before he returned to the United States. After the war was over, Reinhold remained overseas to repair communication lines before finally returning home to Turlock.

Throughout his service, Reinhold received four medals: a World War II Victory Medal, a Good Conduct Medal, an American Campaign Medal and a European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal.

“We’re thankful that he got to serve in the war, and thankful that he came back alive,” said Mccoy.

Although they aren’t related by blood, Reinhold has been a father to Mccoy since she was a young girl. The two enjoyed gardening together when she was a child, and she fondly remembers days spent on their small ranch, complete with chickens, cows and her own horse.

“He’s been the most wonderful dad I could have ever asked for,” said Mccoy. “It’s a blessing that he’s still here and he’s healthy, still telling jokes.”

Mccoy said that her stepfather loves to tell stories and riddles, and was once quite the harmonica player. These days, he enjoys spending time with his family, which also includes his two sons Brad and Robert Reinhold and stepdaughter Teena Jones.

The veteran has learned a lot during his nearly 100 years on earth, but one lesson has stood out from the rest.

“Live life to the fullest, and spend as much time as you can with your family,” he said.