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Montreal Second World War veteran celebrates 100 years: ‘All of us should aspire to be like him’

WATCH ABOVE: Friends and family gathered at the Royal Canadian Legion in Chateauguay on Saturday for a celebration that was a century in the making. Global's Brittany Henriques reports.

Garnet Bourgaize turned 100 years old on Oct. 18, and members of the Royal Canadian Legion as well as friends and family from across Canada gathered to celebrate the Second World War veteran.

“All I can say is that it’s nice to be 100,” said Bourgaize. “I never thought I’d get to 100.”

Dozens of guests gathered at Branch 108 of the Royal Canadian Legion in Chateauguay, Que. to celebrate the beloved centenarian.

READ MORE: From Prairie boy to aviation legend: Second World War veteran recalls D-Day

“We thought it would be a good way to recognize a person who had done a lot for us,” said President Frank Cholette.

“He was a World War II veteran, spent five years over seas between 1940-45.”

Injured in combat, Bourgaize never let that affect his contribution to the Royal Canadian Legion. Even at 100 years old, he’s still planning on distributing poppies this coming month.

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“It means a lot to me, being with other people and all that,” said the Bourgaize.

“It was important for us to recognize him, for all the contribution he’s done not only during the war but on a day-to-day basis,” said Cholette.

Montrealers mourn the loss of WWII veteran
Montrealers mourn the loss of WWII veteran

His family and friends said his good health has been their greatest blessing.

“We’re so pleased, not only myself but the whole family because his mind is clear, he can eat without any difficulty, his health is very good — there’s a lot to be thankful for,” said his youngest son.

READ MORE: Remembering D-Day: These brave Canadians saw the action

“He’s been an active member of our branch very active you’d never say that the man is a hundred years old,” said Cholette.

People close to him say he’s been an inspiration to many, not only for his service, but his outlook on life.

“All of us should aspire to be like him,” said Cholette. “I know I do.”

“I think my favourite thing about my father is his attitude towards life, that he just enjoys it because he doesn’t criticize and put other people down,” said Leaman Bourgaize.

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Bourgaize received certificates from the Prime Minister of Canada and the Governor General, the Government of Quebec, the City of Chateauguay and a Royal scroll from the Queen.