Marine turns 100 | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

Photo by Clay Schuldt Paul Wojahn stands with his birthday cake during his 100th birthday celebration. Friends and family came from all over the county to celebrate with the centenarian.

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NEW ULM – Brown County’s commissioners issued a proclamation declaring June 19, 2021 “Paul Wojahn Day” on his 100th birthday.

Few people ever receive a proclamation honoring a day in their honor, but few people have lived as eventful a life as Paul Wojahn.

On his birthday, friends and family gathered at Finstad’s Oak Haven Campground to honor Wojahn’s century of life and service to the community.

Members of the Department of Minnesota Marine Corps League also attended the ceremony to present Wojahn with a plaque and special greeting.

The new Ulm battery was also there to greet the 100-year-old marine. The battery fired three shots in honor of Wojahn.

The list of Wojahn’s achievements is extensive. He served in the US Marine Corps during World War II. He made a combat beach landing in New Guinea, Cape Gloucester, and was involved in the Battle of Peleliu and Ryukyu Okinawa. He was in Okinawa when the war ended. On December 23, 1945 he was honorably discharged as a private.

At home in Minnesota, Wojahn worked as a farmer and excavator. He was hired as a conservation officer in Minnesota and served for 25 years in enforcing laws related to hunting, fishing, trapping, recreational vehicles, state parks, and wild rice harvesting. Wojahn also taught weapons safety courses.

Wojahn retired in 1983 but continues to serve in several veteran organizations, including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Marine Corps League, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Wojahn held many offices in these organizations, including commandant. Wojahn is also a member of the Lions organization and usually helped buy tickets for the annual fly-in breakfast.

He has also served as the Salvation Army bell ringer on Christmas charity drives.

Wojahn is perhaps best known for his work with the New Ulm Chapter of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). Wojahn helped out with the local DAV clothing campaign from the start and is still doing volunteer work. He is the oldest active member of the organization. Every Wednesday he helps with the collection of clothing donations.

Several members of the DAV attended his birthday to tell stories about his service to the organization.

A week before his 100th birthday, Wojahn helped collect DAV donations during a heat wave. That would be impressive work for a man half the age of Wojahn, but as a centenarian his continued service is inspiring.

During the celebration, many asked about the secret of Wojahn’s longevity. Reaching the age of 100 is impressive, but Wojahn has stayed healthy and lives independently.

Good genes were attributed to his sister Helen Schroeder. Wojahn’s grandmother Justine was also over 100 years old.

Wojahn credits his long life with taking things from day to day. He said if he woke up in the morning, he survived the night. Then he sees if he will survive the day.

“I learned a long time ago not to worry” said Wojahn. “It’ll only get in your way.”

On Sunday, June 20, the day after his 100th birthday, Wojahn sang with the choir of the Christ the King’s Church.

Wojahn’s ongoing service to the community has proven inspirational to many.

Wojahn’s daughter Bonnie Morris said her father was extremely inspiring and she was proud of the way he kept going.

In addition to his daughter, Wojahn has three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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