PRINCETON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – One hundred-year-old WWII Veteran Wilburn Vest best have his reading glasses ready.
The Princeton, W.Va. Veteran turned 100 years on November 14, 2022 – just days after Veterans Day. For the past month, the Beckley VAMC has been encouraging people to send in birthday cards, and the public responded enthusiastically. Approximately 1,500 cards, letters, and drawings poured in from all over the Nation, Canada, and England. Many children sent hand drawn birthday and Veterans Day cards to Mr. Vest.
Other organizations sent hats, key chains, coins, and other tokens of appreciation for his service.
Senator Shelley Moore Capitol, Senator Joe Manchin, and Representative Carol Miller worked together to have a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in appreciation of his service and 100th birthday. The flag and certificate signed by all three Congressional members was presented to Mr. Vest.
Mr. Vest served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1945 in the Navy Construction Battalion, also known as the Seabees. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations, including the Admiralty Islands and New Guinea in the South Pacific. Seabee units help construct critical wartime infrastructure.
“Everyone has treated me so well this birthday,” Mr. Vest said, “I need to make it to 200 now.”
His wife of 77 years, Eula, kept it all a birthday surprise.
“He’s just tickled,” she said. “I can’t believe we kept it under wraps.”
After leaving the service, he worked for the U.S. Post Office for more than 30 years. Him and Eula raised five sons together. These days Mr. Vest enjoys reading magazines and newspapers, and he can often be found watching the news. Up until last summer he was still weed eating his own yard. He has an infectious sense of humor, and he is quick to smile and joke.
Mr. Vest’s Home Based Primary Care (HBPC) Team helped make this birthday surprise possible. HBPC is a health care service provided to Veterans in their home. The program is for Veterans who need team based in-home support for ongoing diseases and illnesses that affect their health and daily activities.
All of Beckley VAMC and the Nation wish Mr. Vest a very happy birthday, with many more to come.