State Rep. Kevin Schreiber reads a birthday card to U.S. Navy veteran Elwood Spangler on Spangler’s 96th birthday Monday during a visit to Rest Haven
State Rep. Kevin Schreiber reads a birthday card to U.S. Navy veteran Elwood Spangler on Spangler's 96th birthday Monday during a visit to Rest Haven York. (John A. Pavoncello — jpavoncello@yorkdispatch.com)

What started as an impromptu visit at a York City nursing home by a state representative months ago turned into a birthday surprise for a resident on Monday.

That's the day Navy veteran Elwood Spangler, a former West York resident who now lives at Rest Haven-York, turned 96 and received a visit from state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City.

"We're just glad you're here and that we could celebrate your birthday," Schreiber told the veteran.

Spangler, who served as an aviation metalsmith during World War II, received a certificate from the state House of Representatives marking his birthday and service to the country; a card signed by Schreiber, his staff and others; and additional items.

"Oh my gosh," Spangler said. "Look at all the people that signed it."

First meeting: Spangler, a widower, has four grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, said his only child, Deanna Redinger of West Manchester Township

Schreiber said he was at the 1050 S. George St. home a few months ago to meet veterans when he first met Spangler and the two talked for nearly an hour. During the conversation, Spangler mentioned his birth date.

Schreiber told him he'd be back to mark the occasion. He kept his promise Monday.

Reaching the age of 96 has had its trials and tribulations. About three years ago, Spangler underwent open-heart surgery and has been in Rest Haven ever since. A few months ago, he broke his hip, an injury for which Redinger said her father is in rehabilitation.


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Despite that, Spangler said he's hoping to reach the centennial mark of his life.

"I'm hoping for four more years," he said. "I thank God every day for my family and the nice surroundings I have here."

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.