Homer Bosserman Jr. is a century-old marvel, a World War II Marine veteran who flew in the Pacific Theater with actor Tyrone Power. On Thursday, state officials honored him for his latest mission: 14 years of volunteer work for the California Highway Patrol.
Bosserman, a retired automobile industry employee, has been working in the department’s Monterey-area office since 2000. He files citations, enters them in log books and performs other duties. On his 100th birthday on June 20, he arrived at the office and announced, “Still alive and kicking!”
Monterey-area CHP Capt. William Perlstein said Bosserman brings energy and humor to the office and exemplifies service. More than 800 seniors do similar volunteer work for the patrol statewide.
“He inspires us to do more for the public,” Perlstein said. “You see him and realize how much sacrifice his generation made.”
Bosserman’s lighthearted nature punctuated the reverential remarks made Thursday by state officials, including CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly during a half-hour ceremony at the patrol’s Sacramento headquarters. Bosserman declined a seat, preferring to stand at the podium most of the half-hour event and tossing in comments that prompted laughs from more than 200 onlookers in the audience.
Farrow: “Our friends at the Department of Motor Vehicles helped him get his driver’s license. For five more years. He drives a hybrid. ...”
Bosserman: “With a heavy foot.”
Farrow: “And we’re watching that foot.”
Farrow gave Bosserman the department’s highest honor, the Commissioner’s Medal of Distinction. Bosserman enjoyed the attention, proudly holding up the award and other plaques he received.
But when Kelly read a thank-you letter letter from Gov. Jerry Brown, the Carmel resident briefly glanced at the framed document then passed it off to an officer standing just offstage. The audience of more than 200 onlookers chuckled.
“Pile ’em up,” Bosserman said. “Pile ’em up.”
Reporters later asked the obvious question: How do you stay so young?
“I chase girls,” Bosserman said. “I can chase ’em, but I can’t catch ’em.”