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World War II veteran turns 101, attributes Dr Pepper as secret to long life

Eugene Petersen.

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — When Eugene Petersen was growing up during the 1930s, the slogan for the Dr Pepper soft drink was “Good for Life.”

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Apparently the World War II veteran took that slogan to heart, as he recently celebrated his 101th birthday. And he attributes his longevity to the soft drink that was created in 1885 in Waco, Texas.

Petersen, a retired U.S. Army sergeant major, served 59 years in the military, KXTV reported.

According to a news release from Travis Air Force Base, which hosted a gathering for the longtime soldier on Jan. 2, Petersen is a hospital volunteer. His daughter, retired U.S. Army Col. Linda Standage, said “Mr. Gene” was initially drafted in 1941 and served as a paratrooper in the Philippines. He also served as a first sergeant to the MAC V Surgeon General during the Vietnam War.

After retiring from the Army, Petersen worked the next 14 years for the U.S. Post Office, KXTV reported.

He started volunteering at David Grant Medical Center in 2010 at the Air Force Base and spends four hours a day and three days a week at the facility, Travis Air Force Base said in its news release.

“He is instrumental in assisting our Health Information Management office in maintaining 124,000 medical records for our 276,000 Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs eligible beneficiaries,” Lt. Col. Reni Angelova, 60th Medical Support Squadron commander, said in a statement. “He shares his knowledge, experience and life with our staff and young Airmen. We truly appreciate his contribution to our Health Information Management mission and to David Grant Medical Center.”

When not volunteering, Petersen enjoys fishing and working out at the gym, KXTV reported.

When Standage was asked what she believed was the secret to her father’s long life, she noted that Petersen “doesn’t let moss grow under him.”

“And Dr Pepper!” Petersen added.

Just what the doctor ordered.