Coronavirus News: WWII veteran who beat COVID-19 surprised with parade for 100th birthday

FREEPORT, Long Island (WABC) -- A World War II veteran who survived COVID-19 was surprised with a parade for his 100th birthday on Long Island Wednesday.

Police officer, firefighters and officials drove past the South Shore Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Freeport to honor Walter Reed.

Residents holding signs and emergency vehicles with lights and sirens helped celebrate the centennial milestone for an American hero who fought on the front lines and won in two of America's wars: WWII and the war on the novel coronavirus.

Reed's daughter, Catherine, said he was very independent, even still driving, but several major health problems began for Walter in February when he broke his hip.

"He was feeling really down, thinking that nobody was around for him," Catherine Reed said.

In addition to the broken hip and COVID-19, Walter also dealt with a bout of pneumonia.

"I never been so low in all my life," Walter said. "Loneliness, not being able to remember nothing, your memory just washes away."

Catherine said she's glad the parade helped him get back to his normal self.

"This adds 10 more years onto my life," Walter said.

As for the key to longevity, Walter said it's simple.

"I still say that you be nice to your fellow man, and treat him right and you get recognition," Walter said.

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