SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (SNN) — A World War II veteran living on the Suncoast recently turned 104 years old.
Ernest “Ernie” Jelinek served in the largest and bloodiest battle of WWII, the Battle of the Bulge.
Jelinek lives on to tell his story right here in Sarasota. He was a captain in the U.S. Army serving under General Patton, but that’s not all he did.
“I was a chef in the infantry. So I came home now, and I am home now. I was with General Patton myself,” Jelinek said.
Kathy Clark has been Jelinek’s live-in caregiver for six years.
“I feel very privileged,” Clark said. “To me, he is famous.”
She said she’s heard many stories throughout the years.
“It’s really interesting because I remember studying General Patton in school myself,” Clark said.
She said Jelinek wears his WWII Veteran hat every time they go out.
“Everybody comes up to him, ‘thank you for your service,’” said Clark.
Serving in WWII is just one of the many things Jelinek has done throughout his life. He was also a business owner.
He had a die casting business, which made locks and metals, as well as a farm. Between both businesses, he had more than 500 employees.