99-year-old WWII veteran recovers from COVID-19, community celebrates

Posted at 3:28 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 19:40:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For 99-year-old Max Deweese, fighting off COVID-19 was just another battle won.

Deweese said he doesn't know how he contracted COVID-19, but when he started having symptoms he went to St. Luke’s South Hospital in Lee’s Summit.

Later, Deweese was admitted to Ignite Medical Resorts in Kansas City, Kansas, in Partnership with the University of Kansas Health System on April 15.

After getting the green light, Deweese was released from Ignite with a big celebration full of applause and cheers.

A mix of medical professionals, law enforcement, firefighters and members of the community were there to see him walk out of the facility. Deweese also received a couple medals saying he beat coronavirus along with a plaque.

"Expected maybe a friend or two, but to have all this and to get these, I don’t know how to describe it,” Deweese said.

Standing right outside was his surrogate daughter, Shirley Hansell, who told 41 Action News, it’s been an emotional ride.

"I was worried about him, I talked to him twice a day for weeks,” Hansell said. "Nobody knew what the end result would be, but he had no underlying conditions so that was in his favor.”

Fighting off this virus was not easy for Deweese.

"Ninety-nine-years-old and didn’t succumb to the virus. Oh, I was sick — there was no question about that,” Deweese said. “I’ve gone through hell more than once and this came almost as close.”

Deweese said the community was right there with him the whole time.

"I’ve got a lot of people that I know were not necessarily friends of mine that have heard about me, and have been including me in their prayers and concern, and if weren’t for people like that I wouldn’t be here today,” Deweese said.

Deweese will have to stay quarantined for two weeks at home.

During this uncertain time for so many who are battling the virus or are taking precautions, Deweese said he wants people to know better days are ahead.

"This will pass folks, and we’ll be grateful for what we have," he said.