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Oshkosh neighbors organize parade to celebrate veteran’s 100th birthday

Published: Jul. 25, 2020 at 8:18 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Parades have become a new way to celebrate something special during this pandemic. But this weekend a parade was held to celebrate an especially impressive milestone for Walter Schwartz.

“He is a wonderful, kind, caring man, he’s a veteran, he’s served our country,” said Mary Beth Deike, a friend of Walter’s.

Which is why his longtime Oshkosh neighbors, like Mary Beth Deike, organized a parade for his milestone birthday.

“We’ve become family and he has tried very hard to get to 100 years and he’s made it, today is his official birthday,” said Mary Beth.

American Legion members joined the parade to honor the World War II veteran along with plenty of neighbors and friends.

Walter’s priest even presented him with a blessing from Pope Francis. Plus, he got a free cake from Festival Foods.

“It’s a big surprise, I didn’t realize it would be so big,” said Walter. “But I’ve got real-good neighbors and they take really good care of me.”

Walter says he didn’t necessarily expect to get to100, but thinks the reason for his longevity is pretty simple.

“Just good clean living I’ll tell you the truth. I just take good care of myself and I made it,” said Walter.

The people in his life hope to have more celebrations in the future.

“We do love the guy with all our heart and pray that he’s around for a few more birthdays,” said Don Deike, another neighbor and friend.

But they wanted to make sure this year’s birthday was one to remember.

“We just hope that this is his best birthday ever,” said Mary Beth.

“I want to thank everybody, especially my neighbors, very nice,” said Walter. “Thank everybody for coming, thank you very much, I appreciate it.”

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.

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