GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — For many years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has always strived to provide world-class services — and doing so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion.

Thursday was no different for the Guntersville VA clinic, as staff along with family and friends came together to surprise World War II veteran James Minor ahead of his 100th birthday. Minor shares his birthday with one of the country’s most celebrated holidays, Independence Day.

Born and raised in Alabama, Minor served in World War II in 1942. Honorably discharged in 1945, the veteran’s service did not stop there.

Minor continued his journey back in Alabama working for local aviation giant Haynes Aircraft. James would eventually retire after spending most of his career correcting technical difficulties for military aircraft such as C-130s and C-130s while also having the opportunity to fly a stealth aircraft.

Post-retirement, the World War II vet would change the mission of his service from aviation to continuing to raise his three daughters while remaining young with his wife of 78 years Ruby, until her recent death in 2020.

Minor has been a patient at the clinic for the past three years. When asked about her father’s treatment Zee Williams could not stop raving.

“They’ve taken really good care of him. Every doctor that’s seen him at the VA has really been great a gracious. Even the community doctors they send him to now, they’re all very helpful.”

As Minor received his slice of coconut cake, he was able to share what he believes the secret to a long life has been. With a huge smile he said, “I love the Lord, and the Lord loves me.”