BROOMFIELD, Colo. (KDVR) – A century of service. That’s what a Broomfield veteran has brought to his community and his country. Later this month, Bill Stremel will celebrate his 100th birthday.

He’s crammed a lot into a century. Stremel served in the Army Air Corps in World War II as a photographer. He entered France 10 days after D-Day and captured some of the most brutal days of the war on film.

“We took pictures of the damage that they thought they had caused,” Stremel told FOX31.

After the war, he put down the camera and picked up the Bible. Following in his father’s footsteps, he spent decades as a Lutheran minister.

“I’ve always wanted to help people,” Stremel said.

He’s still working. Just a couple of weeks ago, he officiated the wedding of his granddaughter at Red Rocks. He’s married off generations of relatives.

“I’m the pastor for the family,” Stremel joked.

All that time in the clergy taught him an important life lesson.

“Learn how to listen and be patient. Biggest problem with most of society is impatience and intolerance,” he said.

Hero of the Month

With his 100th birthday just a few days away, Bill’s already received a few cards. But we wanted to present him with his very first birthday gift. A plaque for being named the FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month. With it comes a $500 Visa gift card from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors at Ford, Adaptive Adventures and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

“That’s kind of you,” Stremel said when presented with the award.

Bill Stremel sits at a table covered with old black-and-white photos while holding a gift card

It is a fitting honor for a man who’s displayed the traits of a hero his entire life, according to loved ones. They say they’ve been given a gift, too: a long life for the man they admire.

“He had pneumonia a couple of times and we thought he was going to go to heaven. And he wants to be with us. So he’s still here. And we’re very thankful for that,” his daughter, Suzanne VonRuden, told FOX31.

To nominate a veteran or active-duty service member for our Hero of the Month honors, visit the nomination page.