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A WWII air Force Veteran in North Texas turned 100 years old this week, though he swears he’s “really only about 50.”

Fred Willis, known locally as “Mr. Fred,” received a special, socially distanced  birthday celebration thanks to the staff at his medical foster care home, part of the VA North Texas Health Care System. 

“So many fire trucks, police officers and other city officials and first responders came out to honor Mr. Fred,” said Dorothy Jackson, Wills’ medical foster home caregiver. “He knew nothing about it and was so excited.”

In addition to the fire trucks and emergency vehicles, an additional parade of friends, neighbors, and employees drive by in their cars, honking their horns, waving signs, and shouting their love for Mr. Fred from the passing vehicles. 

“We are here to celebrate Mr. Fred,” said Machanta Newson, medical foster home care coordinator for VA North Texas, Fort Worth. “He is one of our Veterans and we love him. We wanted to do something small and say thank you.”

“Fred is one of the sweetest and most compassionate Veterans in our program,” said Cara Hodges, the  VA North Texas recreation therapist. “When I first got engaged, he demanded to meet my husband before marrying him so that I was in ‘good’ hands. He’s always looking out for everyone. I wanted to bring all these people who love him together to celebrate on such a momentous day.”

“It’s always good to see people at happy occasions,” said Wills. “Life has been good to me.”

“When you have good health, you have everything,” continued Wills. “The only thing I don’t have is a girlfriend.”

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