CHESAPEAKE, Va. — On Saturday, COVID-19 didn't stop family and friends from celebrating a World War II hero's birthday.
Edward Vincek was a farmer, turned corporal in the Marines, surviving WWII and now 96 years young.
Many in Chesapeake simply know him as Eddie. Vincek remembers his service as a soldier fighting overseas in Iwo Jima. Now, he still gives back to the community as part of the South Norfolk Ruritan Club.
“We charted in 1956 and we have 71 members chartered and I'm the only one still living," said Vincek.
Others in the Chesapeake community honored the freedom Vincek fought for so many decades ago.
“It’s a great thing. He’s a great American and we certainly appreciate him and all the sacrifices he and his family made throughout the years, and to celebrate and to preserve freedom as Americans," said Chesapeake Fire Department Battalion Chief Lawrence Matthews.
COVID-19 changed birthday plans. The family and Chesapeake first responders took to the streets in a socially distant car parade.
“Thank you very much, I appreciate you coming out," said Vincek.
The Vincek family stood by as people gave gifts and salutes.
“I sure appreciate it. I love everybody. Everybody’s been good to be me," said Vincek.
"You’ve been good to everybody for a long time," replied a visitor.