EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — East Syracuse native Carl Sterling spent his life giving back to others, and now the community is celebrating with him on his 100th birthday.

Kids from East Syracuse Elementary School walked over, the ESM band bussed in, and even the school Superintendent brought gifts from his alma mater to honor the hometown original.

Neighbors came from near and far to celebrate Sterling, who is a former village clerk and volunteer for the East Syracuse Fire Department, where he worked for over 80 years.

“I’m overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. What’s the secret to making it this far? Keep breathing!” said Sterling.

NewsChannel 9’s Tim Fox has known Carl Sterling for many years considers him a good friend. But that’s not very exclusive company. Everybody knows him. And everybody loves him.

East Syracuse Mayor Lorene Dadey has known Carl since she was a little kid when he’d run blocks to the fire station to post the location of the latest blaze.

“All he has done is worked for our community the whole 100 years. I mean, he’s still writing us notes, and when he calls the office, he’s still acknowledging who’s behind the desk and things like that,” said Dadey.

Sterling was honored two years ago when a park was named in his honor on North Center Street, just down the block from the East Syracuse Fire Station.

“My mom and I did genealogy several years ago. We discovered a great-great-great-something grandfather of his who lived to be 112. And my brother and I keep saying to him, ‘You can’t let this guy beat you!'” said daughter, Gail Sterling.

His 100th birthday, Oct. 21, is officially known as “Carl Sterling Day” in East Syracuse, an honor that even brought the sun out on a cloudy day.