Story by Amn Jacob Wrightsman on 07/22/2019With 38 years as an active duty military member, 39 years as a volunteer and serving in four different wars, retired Col. Steven L. dePyssler is the definition of living a life of service.
He hit a major milestone in his life as dePyssler celebrated his 100th birthday on July 21, 2019.
"It doesn't feel any different than any other day," dePyssler said. "I still intend to come to work on the day after I turn 100, and I'll still be here same as always."
dePyssler is believed to be the only known American to serve in four wars which were World War II, the Korean War, the French-IndoChina War and the Vietnam War.
"It's hard to find anyone else who served in four wars," dePyssler said. "Because it took me 38 years on active duty to do all that."
During his years of active duty service, dePyssler held every enlisted, warrant and officer rank from Private to Colonel.
"When I tell people I've held 20 different ranks, they always say that there isn't 20 different ranks," dePyssler said. "But in World War II they had six grades that are no longer there and I held three of them."
dePyssler's military career was remarkable, he received the Legion of Merit Medal four separate times, however, he feels some of his most impactful work came during his years of volunteering. Over the past 30 years, he has held the title of director of retiree affairs for Barksdale, helping countless veterans understand their retirement benefits along the way.
"Just this last month there have been 27 widows who needed my help," dePyssler said. "I've always had one goal in life, and that's to help at least one person a day, every day."
That spirit of continued service seems to have no end in the retired colonel, as he plans to continue volunteering for as long as he can.
"I continue to do it because I enjoy coming to work, working with people and helping people," dePyssler said. "As long as I'm able to come to work and help people, I will."
In celebration of dePyssler's 100th birthday, more than 300 friends and guests held a sold-out celebration at the Bossier City Civic Center. Special guest Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards provided remarks and gave a special declaration from the state to dePyssler.
In addition, to commemorate the life and work of dePyssler, Barksdale renamed the 2nd Mission Support Group building to The dePyssler Mission Support Group building.
As another momentous milestone is checked off for dePyssler, the lives he's touched and people he's helped will continue his legacy for centuries to come.