KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Max Deweese, a World War II veteran and COVID-19 survivor, celebrated his 100th birthday Friday during a party at American Legion Post 370 in Overland Park.
Deweese, whose birthday is Saturday, is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He was among the first wave of Marines deployed during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942.
He later earned Purple Hearts after being injured during the Battles of Tarawa and Saipan.
Ten months ago, Deweese fought a battle of another kind after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Oh, I was sick — there was no question about that,” Deweese said last May. “I’ve gone through hell more than once and this came almost as close.”
Fortunately, the virus was no match for Deweese either, so he spent Friday night shaking hands with well-wishers and enjoying the final day of his first century on Earth.
The birthday party was organized by Paul Chapa, the president and chairman of Friends In Service of Heroes, a nonprofit that supports active-duty and veteran military personnel and their families in the Kansas City area.
The event also doubled as a fundraiser to purchase a service dog for a veteran in greater Kansas City.
A GoFundMe has been set up for donations to support Deweese’s birthday wish.
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