Local senior receives surprise gift of flag that flew over Capitol building

By: Michelle Miller, Journal News Editor
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A local senior received quite a surprise Friday — a flag that had flown at the U.S. Capitol building in honor of her 86th birthday. Eunice Perrenod of Penn Valley was delivered the flag Friday at Health For All adult day-care center in Auburn by Robert Spiegel, field representative for Congressman John Doolittle, R-Roseville. “If I was standing, I think I would have fallen down,” Perrenod said of the surprise. Spiegel presented the flag during a group program at Health For All. Spiegel told the group about Perrenod’s service to her country while working for the Department of Defense and helping to crack the Japanese Enigma code during World War II. “Her patriotism lived on through her children,” Spiegel told the group. “Of her five sons, three were in the military and one has returned from current duty in Iraq.” Perrenod’s eyes teared when she was given the flag. The group then broke out in song, singing “God Bless America.” Perrenod’s son, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Douglas A. Perrenod, requested the flag from Doolittle’s office. Citizens can request congressional flags from their representative, Spiegel said. When asked about her work deciphering codes for the Department of Defense, Perrenod remains mum. “I’m still honoring the oath (to not talk about it),” she said. But she was proud to have the opportunity to serve her country. “Very much so,” she said. “I never thought I could be able to do it.” The Journal’s Michelle Miller can be reached at or post a comment at