Dan Sangaree is Franklin County's oldest living veteran. The Army vet says according to census reports, he's 104 years old. But Sangaree says according to family documents, he'll hit the 100 mark on June 20th. "Trying to live a clean, healthy life, eating right, doing right, taking exercise," explains Sangaree.
His doctors give him a clean bill of health. Sangaree had a long career as a theatre manager. He landed his first job around age 20 and retired at 64. "I was a work-a-holic," says Sangaree.
But he says he had plenty of fun. He never had children and was only married for about three years. The lone child to his biological mother was raised by his adoptive parents. Sangaree says those memories are vivid and he can even recall events from the age of three.
"She picked me up in the backyard and was dancing with it," Sangaree recalls about his mother.
He's up to speed with today's world too.
Sangaree knows the names of the U.S. President and Florida Governor.
He even has a cell phone.
Sangaree can read small print on his medicine bottles without his glasses. And he has a garden full of onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cilantro, orchid's... and anything else you can think of.
He works in it daily. And that's just the beginning.
Sangaree gave us a tour of the town of Apalachicola....driving his 1990 Oldsmobile. Back at the house, he backed into his tight parking spot. The careful driver says he still hits the road just about everyday.
Medical experts say there are some obvious ways of increasing your chances of a longer life, like diet and lots of exercise. But there are some other interesting theories. For instance, one study out of Taiwan says people over the age of 65 who shop everyday, live 27 percent longer than those who don't.
And if you think the key to a long life is in your genes, Geriatrics Expert, Dr. Andrew Scanameo says think again.
"Most people say 'my parents lived to 90 and that's why I'm living to 90. And the reality shows us that's only worth 25%. 75% is what we choose, how we live our life," says Scanameo.
The doctor says there are three key components to reducing stress and living longer.
The first is Mind:
Activities like crossword puzzles and extended education can keep your mind active.
Sangaree does brain workouts every morning, saying his ABCs forward and backward.
Although Sangaree was married for just a few years of his long life, experts say people who are married generally live longer lives.
The second component is Body:
Plenty of exercise, and we're not talking a brisk walk three days a week.
"We're talking about heavy, aerobic exercise. I believe getting your heart rate up and breathing heavy for at least 30 minutes a day," says Scanameo.
And finally- the last component is soul.
"Every morning my prayers. I talk with the Lord in my prayers. I'm not a religious fanatic, but I am a Christian," says Sangaree.
"The spiritual part is connecting with your creator, having faith and knowing that it's not up to you. It's up to the someone who created you," says Scanameo.
"If the good Lord's willing, I'm gonna live to be 110 or better," says Sangaree.
A couple other interesting tidbits.
Someone from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office calls to check on Sangaree everyday. And he's even been asked to donate his body to Harvard University for research.