For years, birthday card messages have proclaimed that people should enjoy their day and do something that makes them truly happy. On Tuesday – his 91st birthday – Vic Peters did something that made him happy.

For years, birthday card messages have proclaimed that people should enjoy their day and do something that makes them truly happy. On Tuesday – his 91st birthday – Vic Peters did something that made him happy.

He showed up for his usual weekly volunteer shift as a greeter at the Truman Home Visitor Center on the Square in Independence.

Somebody recently tried guessing Peters’ age while at the visitor center, according to museum technician Darla Hostetler  – and that person guessed 75 or 76.

It’s the years of volunteer service, Peters said, that have kept him feeling young. From the American Red Cross to the Independence Regional Health Center to the Independence Police Department to the Truman Library, Peters’ volunteer experiences during the past three decades are as extensive as some working professionals’ resumés.

A veteran of the Air Force, Peters and his wife, Alice, will celebrate 68 years of marriage on Oct. 10. Except for two back ones that were pulled during his military service, Peters still has all of his original teeth after nine decades.

They are, after all, the key component to the first trait that most people notice upon first meeting Peters – his smile.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer work?

Primarily just meeting people – I love people, and I like to talk. It’s strange how many times you find out how much you have in common, just like with one of the rangers here – we got to be good buddies because we like to talk about cars and guns and all of those good things. I like all of the rangers; I’ve had a wonderful time here working with them.

I keep busy, and I’m sure that is what keeps me going.

What is an interesting tidbit or fact about Harry Truman that people may not realize?

I met (Truman) one time and shook hands with him. What’s interesting is here, a lot of people ask that question, and then they’ll want to shake hands so they can shake hands with the hand that shook hands with Harry Truman. What I didn’t really realize or think about until I started here, in the video, right at the beginning, it tells about Harry Truman staying with his aunt and his cousin across from (what would later become) the Truman Home and said he took the cake plate across to Bess.

Well, the lady who gave him that cake plate was Ethel Noland, and she was my seventh grade school teacher, so I had kind of an early tie-in there with President Truman that I never did know anything about.

President Truman asked me the question if he did anything to please me as he was president. I said, “Well, yes, because I was in the Air Force (during World War II), and I was on orders to go to Japan when they dropped the bomb, and I did not have to go to Japan.” So, that’s probably as important of a fact as anything.

Why do you think volunteering is important?

It keeps you busy and keeps your mind sharp and makes you get out of bed and get up and go sometimes, even when you don’t feel like it. I think it’s important that people do that just to keep halfway sharp.

How can others get involved?

Anyone can volunteer, including individuals, couples, families, students and organized groups. Those who are younger than age 18 may volunteer with the signed permission of a parent or guardian. Visit www.nps.gov/hstr or contact Dave Suvak, volunteer coordinator at the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, at 816-461-5550 for more information.

More than 125,000 National Park Service’s Volunteers-In-Parks volunteers contribute 4.5 million hours each year, which is valued at more than $77 million in annual service.