BELFAST — Glenn Hills is many things: a three-war veteran with 36 years’ service, a brother to nine siblings, and the son of Herbert and Mildred Hills. And Thursday, June 17, during a bustling parade in his honor, he celebrated 102 years of living.

Glenn Hills admires a cake made for his 102nd birthday celebration at Harbor Hill in Belfast. Courtesy of Joy Asuncion

The event took place at Harbor Hill Nursing Care Center. An impressive turnout of veterans and friends came to celebrate the birthday of the former master sergeant. Navy veteran Jim Roberts, who is operations manager of VFW Post 3108 in the city, helped direct parade participants to their proper places, and brothers-in-arms Ken Smart and Jim Wood helped him place American flags at the new Chair of Honor monument just outside Harbor Hill’s driveway.

Carmine Pecorelli, who spent 26 years in the military, serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, had never met Hills before, but came out to celebrate with him regardless. He regularly supports fellow service members. Pecorelli visits Bangor International Airport as a troop greeter, and has assisted Wreaths across America eight times. Considering all these service opportunities, he said, “It’s been a wonderful life for me.”

As a 20-year member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Kevin Michaud made the commute from Lewiston to Belfast “to honor this veteran.” Michaud is a former New Brunswick resident who now works at Bates College. He reported that it was his day off, which he was happy to spend in Belfast supporting Hills.“When the call goes out, if I can be here, I will be here,” he said.

Patriotic motorcycle clubs were present at the parade, including The Patriot Riders of America – Maine Chapter 5, which operates out of Waldo. Thirteen members of the Garry Owen Motorcycle Club, who advocate for and take care of veterans, came to show their support. Members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association were also present — their motto is “veterans supporting veterans.”

When the parade reached his seat, Hills was smiling broadly. He was joined by his two surviving brothers, 100-year-old Basil and 92-year-old Carl. Both also live at Harbor Hill; Basil lives in the Assisted Living Unit, where Glenn also resides.

From left, veterans Ken Smart, Jim Wood and Jim Roberts hold their respective service flags. Cali Warren

The Hills brothers served our country together. Carl served for 36 years, while Basil, a Purple Heart recipient, served five years. They lost a brother in World War II. Richard Hills died in the Battle of the Bulge in Germany, while the oldest brother, Raymond, passed away in 2012; he had spent 32 years in the military.

Glenn has been a Belfast resident for all 102 years of his life, building his home on Swan Lake Avenue. He has seven children. In his younger years, he was an instructor at Camp Keyes in Augusta. He served in the Army National Guard (Company K) in Belfast and the Air National Guard in both Augusta and Bangor. He served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

A hip injury in 2019 caused Hills to move into the Assisted Living Unit at Harbor Hill, where he now enjoys watching movies featuring his idol, John Wayne, and working on word puzzles every day. When asked if he had any tips for longevity, he laughed and said, “Not a bit.” After the festivities, Belfast Mayor Eric Sanders presented Glenn with a key to the city of Belfast.

Parade participants march in honor of Glenn Hills’ 102nd birthday in Belfast. Cali Warren

Members of the Garry Owen Motorcycle Club gather before the parade in honor of Glenn Hills. Cali Warren

An undated photo of Glenn Hills as a young man in the Army. Courtesy of Glenn Hills