Veteran returns to service roots to cook for fellow vets

93-year-old WWII vet volunteers in retirement community kitchen
Veteran returns to service roots to cook for fellow vets
Anna Zeman

Decades after retiring from the military, a World War II vet is still serving her country.

Anna Zeman, who also goes by Ann, loves cooking, people and honoring servicemen and women. It’s her service that seems to continue to grow throughout the years, and residents in her community home said they are thankful for her service.

“I’m a veteran in World War II. I was sergeant in a hospital kitchen in Scottfield, Illinois, for about three years,” Zeman said.

Those years of service are still at the top of Zeman’s mind, and decades later the 93-year-old is back at it cooking a meal for her fellow veterans.

“I enjoy cooking and being with people and having to have something to do. I think that’s one of the most important holidays of the year and so many people do not recognize it,” she said.

Zeman volunteers in the kitchen twice a month to cook for her fellow residents in her retirement community, and has never missed an opportunity to honor veterans every year in the place she has called come for the last 14 years. To honor her fellow veterans she puts on a Veteran’s Day lunch every year.

“She’s a great cook and too bad we couldn’t have had her cooking aboard the ship,” veteran Fred Terbilcox said.

Zeman spent a week preparing the feast for 96 residents, 32 of them veterans, but her neighbors said it’s not only her cooking that continues to surprise them.

“To me it’s just phenomenal instead of asking for other people’s help. She is actually helping them and just giving,” resident Barbara Lomperski said.

It’s her lifetime of service in and out of the military that continues to impact those around her.

“We can all take lessons from her. She is just the classic example of goodness,” Lomperski said.

Zeman said at 93 was going to be her last year putting on the lunch, but the residents in the community said knowing her personality they expect her to continue to cook at least a couple more meals before she hangs up her chef’s hat.