Local WWII veteran and POW celebrates 102nd birthday

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Randall Edwards of Polk County is turning 102 years old on July 23. Today he was honored for his service in WWII, and also celebrated his birthday with people he loves.

Once a prisoner of war in Manchuria during WWII, Edwards was surrounded by love, celebration and yes cake at Mission BBQ in Lakeland just days before his 102nd birthday.

His wish when he blew out the candles?

“I’ve got to make it to 108!”

There was a lot to celebrate alongside family and friends. There was much more to honor and appreciate. U.S. Representative Ross Spano (R) was in town to thank him.

“You need to understand how much we appreciate you and your services,” said Rep. Spano.

At one point during his time as a prisoner of war, Edwards weighed a staggering 98 lbs, worked 7 days a week in appalling conditions and became nearly deaf.

“We put in a lot of very hard times,” he said.

The true patriot he is, he re-enlisted when he was released even after all he’d been through.

Through everything, he remains humble.

“I don’t feel like a hero, and I don’t know that other POWs feel like heroes either.”

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