Meta Monteleon celebrated a very special milestone recently. The staff at Carl Vinson Medical Center in Central Georgia organized a surprise party for Monteleon in honor of her 108th birthday and a lifetime of service. For the occasion, she wore her finest pearls, a sparkling birthday crown, and a pink dress.
Nurses Tina Montford and Nicole Dent arranged the festivities to celebrate one of their favorite patients.
“Pearl earrings and pearl necklaces, and that fits her personality. If you think about Monteleon, you definitely think of a jewel,” said Montford. “She has a very welcoming and warm spirit. She’s genuine, everything about her is just lovely.”
As the oldest living WWII nurse, Monteleon has a slew of accomplishments under her belt. She even gave a speech at the VA memorial service at the age of 98. Her words “brought the house down,” according to her daughter Martha Duke.
“My years as an Army nurse were the best years of all, exciting and fulfilling,” the retired nurse said in her speech. She encouraged young people to pursue a career in medicine as a way of broadening their life experiences.
Monteleon still leads an active and happy life, and she doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
“Learn to labor and to wait, and those words that have followed me throughout my whole entire time here at the VA, and those are certainly words to live by. Learn to labor and to wait,” she said.
“She tries things and does things that other people don’t necessarily do at that age, and other people like knowing that,” Duke said.
Monteleon chose to wear her pearls on her birthday because they represent wisdom. She served as a nurse in the Army for three years, including two years in Pearl Harbor taking care of German prisoners of war.
“She’s always been a lifelong learner and insatiably curious,” Duke said.
She even tried chair yoga at age 99, which caught the attention of the local CBS News station.
“Everybody was so fascinated by the fact that a 99-year-old was doing chair yoga,” Duke said.
Duke has learned a lot from her mother, including the importance of being resilient.