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Denver WWII veteran named FOX31 Hero of the Month on his 100th birthday

Serving Those Who Serve

DENVER (KDVR) – When Keith Nelson walked out on to his front porch earlier this week, he had no idea family, friends and neighbors had braved the cold and snow to gather outside and wish him a happy birthday. It was the best they could do in a pandemic.

“Big occasion! He’s turning 100 today. We wanted to have a big party with lots of people, but (we’re) still going to do what we can to make him feel special and enjoy his day,” his granddaughter, Miranda Castellano, told FOX31.

A few people brought gifts, but perhaps the biggest surprise was delivered by FOX31. We presented Nelson with a plaque honoring him as the FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month for December 2020.

Nelson served in World War II for three years as an anti-aircraft gunner stationed in the Philippines.

“He never talked about the sacrifices he made, or the hard times he had. He just did his best to make sure my sister and I had a good start in life. And we did,” his son, Randy Nelson, told FOX31.

“He’s had a hard couple of years, you know. My mom passed away in ’97, and I know he misses her dearly. And he lost his eye sight 10 years ago. But he still plugs on, and he doesn’t complain,” Randy said.

A humble man, humbled even further by the presence of family and friends who belted out the birthday song with chattering teeth. His daughter even joined the 100th birthday celebration, over the phone from Texas. Nelson has done too much for them, and too much for his country, for a milestone like this to be ignored.

To nominate a veteran, active-duty service member, family member or military volunteer as the next FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month, visit the nomination page on our website.

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