WINNSBORO, S.C. — George Alexander, a World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran is turning 100 years old on Feb. 1 at his home in South Carolina.
On Alexander's 99th birthday in 2020, the Old Glory Quilters awarded the veteran with a Quilt of Valor in a special public ceremony. But because of COVID-19 restrictions this year, his family and friends held a surprise drive-by celebration for Alexander on Sunday, the day before his birthday.
"The drive-by celebration is at his house on Sunday, instead of birthday on Monday so people can come by," his son, Carlos Alexander, said.
One of George Alexander's friends, Harvey Mayhill, said it's rare to meet a veteran who has served in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
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World War II, Vietnam and Korean War veteran turns 100
"Only 7% of the U.S. population are veterans, only 2% of those veterans served in WWII, and an even smaller percentage of those served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam," Mayhill said. "And fewer have reached the age of 100 years old."
Mayhill said George Alexander served in WWII and was discharged after his enlistment. He was later recalled to serve in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired in 1967 as a Master Gunnery Sergeant.
George Alexander's family invited the public to swing by and wish the soon-to-be-100-year-old veteran a happy birthday. His family had asked people stay in their cars in order to adhere to social distancing requirements. There will be a drop-box for those who wish to leave a card or letter.
"For his safety, and others' safety, we want people to stay in their cars," his son Carlos Alexander said.
Carlos Alexander said his father, who despite being almost 100 years old, is completely self-sufficient.
"At 100 years old, he is still able to get around by himself," Carlos Alexander said. "I do his grocery shopping to try to keep him stocked up, but he prepares his own meal for the most part."
Carlos Alexander said he's grateful that he's had his father around for as long as he has.
"It's special to us just to have him," Carlos Alexander said. "He's been around; he's seen a lot, and he's served a lot."
The veteran received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week and is scheduled for his second dose.
"He has great concern about the COVID-19 pandemic," Carlos Alexander said. "He stayed at home, and the only time to go out is to go to his doctor's appointments."
George Alexander's surprise birthday parade was held on Sunday, Jan. 31. His son said the local fire department and sheriff's office joined in on the celebration.
More about the parade route:
- 1:30 p.m. - Parade Line-Up – Lake Wateree (near Winnsboro) South Carolina
- 2 p.m. parade starts.
- The Assembly area will be on Boat Club Road at the intersection of Boat Club Road and Shangri-La Drive. (Lake Wateree)
Those who want to send Alexander a birthday card can do so at this address:
749 Shangri-La Drive
Winnsboro, SC 29180