Moorhead veteran gets surprised for 100th birthday with drive-by celebration

MOORHEAD, Minn. (KVRR) — Family, friends and even strangers came together Saturday afternoon to celebrate the 100th birthday of a U.S. Navy veteran from Moorhead.

Reflecting on previous birthdays, Martin Pelkey says there isn’t one in particular that stands out. “It’s been one right after the other,” he laughed.

Until now, that is.

With tears in his eyes, Pelkey reluctantly accepted the birthday surprise his family says he greatly deserves.

“On behalf of the Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota/Minnesota, we want to give you a shirt, a cap, and then we’ve got you a jacket. God bless you and thank you for your service,” those with Veterans Honor Flight said to Pelkey as they presented him with the gifts.

Because of his age, Pelkey won’t make it on this spring’s Honor Flight. That’s why those with the organization, as well as the VFW Color Guard, Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Moorhead Police decided to come to him.

“It’s huge. It’s very emotional. It’s so great. He needed to be recognized the way he did,” Pelkey’s grandchildren Chad, Jason and Shelli said.

Pelkey served in the Navy from 1942 to 1946 as a Petty Officer Second Class.

He says today’s world is much different than what he knew growing up. “I don’t know this world. Too much hatred in it.” Pelkey says what the world needs now, more than ever, is love.

“He’s one of a kind, yeah, he’s one of a kind,” his great-grandson Jason said.

Besides daily exercise, Pelkey says the key to a long and healthy life is simple: “Just don’t die.”

Pelkey still lives on his own.

He is a big coffee drinker and loves all Minnesota sports teams.

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead