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100-year-old veteran served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam

Billy Chinnis celebrated the milestone birthday at a party in Swanton on Saturday. He credits having a happy marriage for his long life.

SWANTON, Ohio — A local World War II veteran celebrated his 100th birthday in Swanton on Saturday and dozens of people showed up to celebrate with him.

Billy Chinnis grew up in Toledo and joined the Navy in 1942 to serve in World War II.

Mr. Chinnis says he enjoyed serving his country so much that he stayed in the Navy for 30 years, also serving in the Korean War and Vietnam War.

To celebrate the monumental birthday, Chinnis was joined by his family members and area veterans who honored his career and his enthusiasm for the armed forces.

“It's not for everybody, but for me I enjoyed it. And if you want comradeship, goodfellas, get in the service," said Chinnis.

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Chinnis says he is most proud of his family members that have followed in his footsteps.

His wife Theresa was a Marine, his son was in the Navy, and his granddaughter has been in the Air Force for 18 years.

Chinnis says the secret to a long life is a good marriage. “If I didn’t have her I wouldn’t have made it,” Chinnis said about his wife. “I was a young sailor, probably drinking too much, but she straightened me out, and we stayed married for 69 years.”

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Chinnis, who says he was overwhelmed by the number of people who came out to celebrate with him was greeted by a long line of well-wishers to thank him for his service and congratulate him on his birthday.


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