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'I was scared like everyone else': WWII veteran remembers Pearl Harbor on 100th birthday

Marlin Crider said his fondest memories of his life were those volunteering as an Auxiliary Florida Highway Patrol Trooper in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — On Monday, Marlin Crider, a veteran of WWII and longtime Auxiliary Florida Highway Patrol trooper, celebrated his 100th birthday.

“I never thought I’d make it!" Crider said with a smile.

At 100 years old, Crider’s servant heart has not stopped beating.

“I just like helping people that are less fortunate than me," Crider said. "I wish I could do it all over again."

His friends with the Florida Highway Patrol were there to celebrate the service of Major Crider. They said he is truly a one-of-a-kind servant.

“He’s always thinking of a way to give," Troop G Auxiliary Major Donald Flynn said.

The WWII veteran served the United States Navy for more than 20 years. Crider was among those sent to the then-devastated Naval base at Pearl Harbor in the days after the Japanese surprise attack on Dec. 7.

“It was it was a dangerous place to be because we thought the Japanese were going to invade the island, of course," Crider remembered. "We just didn't know where they were at. I was scared like everybody else."

Crider also remembered the aftermath of the pivotal Battle of Midway, where he helped rescue survivors.

However, Crider said, his fondest memories were those volunteering as an auxiliary trooper in Jacksonville.

“I’d hate to think how many people I went and got gas for, changed tires for," Crider recalled with a laugh. "Some of them didn’t even know where their spare tires were at.”

Crider won many service awards during his four decade stint.  Last year, Crider received the highest one given by the Florida Highway Patrol: Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Serving the state, serving our country, serving our citizens: It’s a bench mark we all should aspire to," Flynn said.