SOUTH BEND, Ind. A World War II veteran from South Bend is getting ready to turn 100 years old and on Saturday, a local nonprofit that serves veterans organized a celebration for him and his family.
“Veterans give so much and we need to return the favor and we love to honor them for all that they've sacrificed and done,” said Elaine Lydeen, vice president of Get Wet for a Vet.
The American Legion Riders led the way as 99-year-old Willie Williams was escorted in style to a celebration at the Pulaski Post 357.
“I was selected to serve in the United States Army in 1940 in November,” said Williams.
Williams was just 20 years old when he was sent to fight in World War II following in his father's footsteps, who had fought in World War I.
Williams turns 100 years old in August, but the nonprofit Get Wet for a Vet wanted to celebrate early and organized the special day for him and his family.
“When we pulled up, he didn't know about the escort thing, he thought this was kind of a church and family function today, so he was pretty surprised,” said Lydeen.
“We appreciate it because him getting ready to be 100 years old, that's an honor and a blessing,” said Williams’ grandson, Adrian Dennis.
“Every time he goes somewhere he's known,” said Dennis. “We can't go anywhere without someone knowing him and everybody is constantly asking him, 'What is it that you do to live so old?' He gives the same advice every time.”
“Treat everybody right and live right and look to the good Lord for your blessings because he's been good to me,” said Williams. “I've been around to war and it didn't cost me a dime.”
Williams will turn 100 years old on August 20.
If you'd like to learn more about events hosted by Get Wet for a Vet, you can visit their Facebook page. Click here to visit the page.
Their biggest event of the year is coming up on August 3 at VFW Post 360 in Mishawaka.