At 100 years, no average Joe

The Baltimore Sun

Joseph Kaminski, who turned 100 years old yesterday, still weeds the yard at his Rosedale home and shops for all his groceries.

And those are just things he does in his spare time.

For the last 28 years, Kaminski has worked five days a week as a bindery technician at the Baltimore County public schools' copy and print services office in Middle River, where he was honored yesterday by co-workers and county officials.

For four hours a day, he helps print, cut, fold and collate printed materials for the schools and offices served by the county printing outlet. He drives himself to work from the home he shares with his wife of almost 65 years, Marie, 88, and hasn't taken a sick day this year.

"He comes in, does his job, moves boxes, lifts, doesn't complain about anything," said office supervisor Jennifer Drury, 33. "He's very productive. I think that's why he's still living."

Kaminski agrees, crediting his work and co-workers with giving him energy and good health.

"Even the doctors say, 'What do you do?' And I say, 'Keep myself busy,' " he said.

The celebration included a visit by County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who proclaimed yesterday Joseph Kaminski Day in Baltimore County.

The citation referred to Kaminski as a "role model for all [his] fellow citizens."

"This is special. This guy is special," Smith said. "We wanted to celebrate with him."

David Webster, 59, a co-worker who sits next to Kaminski in the office, notified Smith about Kaminski's birthday.

"He has inspired me so much that I really wanted this to be a huge day for him," Webster said. "To me, he's an angel sent from heaven - honest to God."

Kaminski also received a congratulatory letter from Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who commended his "zest for life."

After Smith presented him with a plaque, Kaminski blew out the three candles spelling out "100" atop his birthday cake and thanked people for coming.

Kaminski's daughter, Debbie Smith, 48, of Perry Hall, who took off work to attend the celebration, said her father taught her his amazing work ethic. Smiling widely, she said her father's doctors are in awe of his get-up-and-go attitude, which along with his Roman Catholic faith provides him with his good spirits and good health, she said.

"He loves to be up and about, and he never would have done well sitting at home," she said.

Co-workers were equally effusive.

"The first thing that struck me when I met him eight years ago was his wit and personality, his sense of humor," said Paul Seed, 56, a pressroom technician.

"He's quick with jokes. He'll keep you laughing," said Travis Turner, 19, who works part time at the office. "He makes the workday go by faster."

Kaminski said the secret to longevity is: "You have to continue using the brain and the body for the circulation of the blood."

He said he started working at the printing office in 1980, with intentions of stopping after two years. Now, however, he has no plans of retiring, he said.

"I have intentions of staying as long as my body will allow," he said. "I figure that will be [when I'm] about 115."

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