KENILWORTH, NJ – David Brearley High School senior Michael Naya who is currently writing a book about World War II veterans recently collected about 200 birthday cards to send to World War II veteran, John Pletkovich from Peoria, Illinois celebrating his 100th birthday. Many students from Harding Elementary and David Brearley Middle/High School played a role in celebrating his special day.

Naya met Tim Pletkovich in 2017, author of Civil War Fathers: Sons of the Civil War in World War II. He put Naya in touch with many World War II veterans, including his father, a Navy veteran John Pletkovich. When Tim told Naya his father would be turning 100 on January 20, 2020, Michael eagerly told his teachers who in turn thought of the idea to collect birthday cards for this veteran. 

Naya praised the students who took the time to honor his friend and was very pleased with the contribution. “Not many men and women have the privilege to live one-hundred years and my hope is that this offered many children and teenagers an experience they won’t ever forget. Each day we are losing more and more men from that generation which is why it becomes ever more important to ensure that younger generations understand what these senior citizens and veterans have done for us. I am very grateful that the teachers at Harding and Brearley wanted to help celebrate his birthday. After all you only turn one-hundred once.” Naya was also mentioned in Newsday January 19, 2020