TEANECK, N.J.—Holy Name Medical Center hosted an intimate birthday party for volunteer and World War II veteran Herand Kafafian, who is turning 100 today. Mr. Kafafian was celebrated by hospital leadership, colleagues, and family members. Kafafian is one of few WWII veterans still alive, and he is the hospital’s oldest active volunteer.
The event, which was covered by local news stations, featured speakers honoring Mr. Kafafian. One speaker noted, “It is a bright light of common individuals, simple individuals like yourself that shine in the community that represent and give us hope for what we should all be.”
Mr. Kafafian, however, is neither “common” nor “simple.” He served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945, where he was stationed in the Philippines as a photographer. He was later awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in the invasion of Leyte, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, and just last year, Kafafian was honored as a “hometown hero” by Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-5) for his service to his country and community.
Mr. Kafafian has two daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren, all of whom attended the early birthday celebration. When asked how he felt about this new milestone, Kafafian jokingly cited his “claustrophobia” as why he’s “made it this far,” telling reporters, “By golly, I’m scared as the Devil to get locked up in a box, six feet underground, with a pile of salt on me.”