Military Life Veterans

A 104-year-old World War II veteran had a socially distanced birthday party after recovering from COVID-19

Lapschies told reporters that it felt "pretty good" to be 104.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A 104-year-old World War II veteran celebrated his birthday with a socially distanced party after he fully recovered from the coronavirus.

William “Bill” Lapschies was put in isolation at the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, Oregon, after first showing symptoms of COVID-19 on March 5, according to KOIN.

He was one of the first two residents at the facility to test positive for the virus. In total, the home has had 15 positive coronavirus cases, and two residents have died, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs told KOIN.

Lapschies met recovery guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Oregon Health Authority this week, and he celebrated with his family on Wednesday with a socially distanced party.

Lapschies told reporters that it felt “pretty good” to be 104.

“I made it,” he told KOIN. “Good for a few more.”

Video from the party showed Lapschies in a wheelchair near his facility’s door. Friends and family stood yards from him with signs and balloons.

“We celebrated his 101 and had over 200 people. So trying to keep our social distancing and do what Governor Brown has asked us to do,” Lapschies’ daughter, Carolee Brown, told KOIN. “But we’re so thrilled he’s recovered from this and we just had to do something for him.”

Lapschies lived through the 1918 Spanish Flu and the Great Depression, and was stationed in the Aleutian Islands during World War II. At 104, he has two grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and five great-great-grandchildren.

He is believed to be the oldest person to recover from COVID-19, Oregon Public Radio reported.

Dr. Rob Richardson, who oversees care at the veteran’s home, said Lapschies would likely have to have been hospitalized if he didn’t live in the long-term care facility.

“This could have easily gone another way,” Richardson told Oregon Public Radio. “There’s not a lot of interventions that can be done.”

Lapschies’ family told KOIN they can’t wait to hug Lapschies again once the pandemic is over.

“His smile, I wish you could have seen it, that mask covers it but his smile is absolutely contagious,” his granddaughter Jamie Yutzie said.

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