Novelist George Meredith encouraged us all when he said, “Don't just count your years, make your years count.” But Manuel R. Moreno, retired Army Master Sgt., has truly lived up to the sage advice.

This was never more evident than when Moreno’s numerous family and friends lined up to wish him well on July 18, the day after he turned 99. While no in-person party could happen due to current health restrictions, the line of vehicles and happy faces were just as cheerful and delighted as could be while they honored him and his legacy.

Moreno was drafted for and served in WWII in the European theater, where he suffered three injuries. While later stationed in Panama, he met his wife, Dalila. He retired from the Army after 20 years.

“The top life lesson I learned during my time in the military was discipline and timeliness,” he said. “My advice for veterans transitioning to the civilian sector is to love your country like you do your family. Care (for it) and be proud of it!”

After retiring from active duty, Moreno worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a security officer for another 20 years.

Living in Livermore since the ’60s, he and Dalila would have celebrated their 70th anniversary on July 7. He was Dalila’s caregiver until she passed away in December of last year. Together, they raised a wonderful family of five children, who themselves gave rise to numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“To have a successful marriage and family life, you should cherish every moment and take care of each other,” said Moreno. “My favorite memories of the children and grandchildren growing up are the Easter egg hunts in the backyard and the grandkids sneaking eggs out of each other’s baskets, and the original performances by the grandkids to entertain the adults. Halloween was one of the favorites, except Christmas – that was tops!”

Looking back across the years, Moreno’s children are filled with warm memories of the past.

“One of my most treasured memories of my father from when I was growing up is his love for our family and patience raising five children,” said his daughter, Carmen Alicia (Moreno) Ohlmeyer, a Danville resident. “He loved to dance with our mother to Panamanian music. They belonged to a Panamanian club for years and would get together at our house for parties and celebrations. Of my father's characteristics, I see his love of family most in myself. You start with love and respect for each other, and always keep God in your life. We thank him for serving our country and always wearing his special cap proudly to honor those that didn’t make it back.”