Gloucester Township and Pitman officials help veteran celebrate his 100th birthday

Retired Pitman cop and volunteer firefighter Earl Young honored for lifetime of service

EMILY LIU/The Sun: Earl Young celebrates his 100th birthday on Aug. 11 surrounded by family, Elmwood Hills staff, members from American Legion, the Pitman Police and Fire Departments, the Gloucester Township Police Department and government officials who come to honor him for his lifetime of service.

Despite 100 degree weather on Aug. 11, family, staff and residents at Elmwood Hills Healthcare Center in Gloucester Township,  local officials and veterans groups gathered to celebrate Earl Young’s 100th birthday.

Karen DeCecco, marketing director at Elmwood Hills, introduced Young and gave him a hat as a birthday present.

EMILY LIU/The Sun: Karen DeCecco, marketing director of Elmwood Hills, introduces Earl Young, and presents him with a cap that reads “All American 1921 Classic” for his 100th birthday at Elmwood Hills in Gloucester Township on Aug. 9.

“Today we celebrate a man who has dedicated his life to serving others,” she said. “Earl served in the army during World War 2 (and) received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and many other honors. He is the oldest living retired police officer of Pitman and Gloucester County, and was also a member of the Pitman Fire Company.”

Young, who was born in 1921, was honored by U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross’s office, Camden County Commissioner Melinda Kane and both Pitman and Gloucester Township.

EMILY LIU/The Sun: A representative from Congressman Donald Norcross’s office delivers a proclamation honoring Earl Young for his service on Aug. 11

He lived in the former for most of his life and currently resides at Elmwood Hills. He’s also a member of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and the American Legion.

A proclamation from Kane recounted Young’s life, service and accomplishments. She noted his marriage of 77 years to Gertrude Miller, who passed away in 2019 at 98; his service in the Army;  his years as a police officer; and his volunteer service at the fire company. She also noted that Young was wounded during the war from a mine explosion that left him with shrapnel next to his heart that is still there.

Ted Gallagher, from Camden County’s Veteran Affairs office, bestowed the military service medal on Young, and elaborated on other medals he earned in the war, including the Victory Medal and a rare combat infantryman badge.

EMILY LIU/The Sun: Camden County Commissioner Melinda Kane and Ted Gallagher bestow Veteran Service Medal on Earl Young on his 100th birthday on August 11 at Elmwood Hills Healthcare Center in Gloucester Township.

One of Young’s longtime neighbors and friends, Pitman police Executive Officer Tom Zander, remembered their time together on the force.

EMILY LIU/The Sun: Pitman Police Executive Officer, neighbor and Earl Young’s friend, Tom Zander, reflects on his memories with Earl Young. He remembers Young would often quiz him about Pitman, with one of the hardest questions being “Where did they keep the horses for the police department?”

“It truly has been a pleasure to have him as a neighbor, confidant, a mentor, brother officer,” Zander noted. “… When people talk about Mr. Earl Young, they truly speak about him as a community officer, somebody who was fair, who was concerned about everyone and (was) someone who cared.

“We can all strive to meet those conditions.”