SEVEN HILLS, Ohio (WJW) – One World War II veteran is sharing his secrets to a long and happy life ahead of National Centenarian’s Day.

US Army Air Force Staff Sergeant Armand Vendetti operated emergency airfields for pilots in distress.

“Fighter planes that couldn’t make it back to England,” Venditti said. “Six or eight different locations (in Europe).” 

Now at 101 years old, he lives in Seven Hills at Vitalia Rockside, an independent senior living community where he focuses on keeping busy with 3-D and jigsaw puzzles.

“It keeps you active,” Venditti said. “Keeps your mind going. You’re looking and thinking. You’re trying to manipulate them and fit them where they fit.”

Venditti said being a Centenarian is something he never foresaw in his younger years.

“101? That’s impossible, as far as I was concerned,” he said. “I’d never see that… and here I am.”

Well into his golden years, he enjoys spending time with his daughter and son-in-law, Pat and Tim Beck.

“They do everything for me. I don’t know where I’d be if they weren’t around,” Venditti said. 

Leah Gallas is the Resident Services Director at Vitalia. She said he’s a joy to have in the community.

“Everybody loves him,” Gallas said. “We all look after him. All the residents love to get to know him, want to sit with him during events. Everybody treats him like one of their own, which is nice.”

As for the secret to living to be over 100, Venditti said he enjoys a good hamburger, some spaghetti and an occasional beer – but everything in moderation.

His biggest advice for living a long life is making sure to find happiness while remembering to forget about the negative things in life.

“That’s what life is all about, trying to be happy and stay happy,” he said. “Anger and anxiety are no good for you. That’s too big of a hazard to overcome. You’ve got to do your best to avoid that situation and get on with the rest of your life.”

Venditti is looking forward to celebrating his 102nd birthday on Nov. 12, one day after Veteran’s Day.