EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A remarkable centenarian on Long Island is keeping spirits soaring.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, Walter Reed has a century of stories to tell.READ MORE: CDC Announces New Mask Guidance For People Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19
He spent his 101st birthday in the hospital after slipping and breaking his hips feeding birds.
He’s been cooped up since Thanksgiving in hospital and rehab.
“I feel so good to get home. I’m telling you, I’ve been away so long,” he said.
Walter is a widower and lives alone in East Rockaway, so his cherished buddies kept vigil at his hospital window.
“When you get 101 years old, I’m going on 102, I’m so happy to have good friends. A friend in need is a friend indeed,” he said.
That is the mission of Vet2Vet peer support says the Dwyer Project’s Steven Rose.
“We are going to continue our tradition of making sure you’re good because we love and care about you,” Rose told Reed.
Walter was an integral part of Black military police during World War II, helping train troops in the south during our nation’s shameful history of segregation.
He says it made him stronger, not bitter.READ MORE: NYPD Budget, Rising Gun Violence Dominate First Democratic New York City Mayoral Debate
“December 7, 1941, I enlisted … I came out in 1945,” Walter said.
He worked production for the CBS game show What’s My Line and was a trolly and subway conductor – plus a race car driver on the side.
“We’re just glad to have Walter back with us,” one person said.
“We help each other. We heal each other,” said another.
The veterans who are providing help gain a sense of satisifcation in the knowledge they’re making a real difference.
Walter savors the companionship and often challenges the vets to memorize little ditties.
“Good better best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better than your better’s best,” Walter said.
“His 100th birthday, there was a line to dance with Walter,” one woman said.
At age 101, Walter says his rehabbed hips are feeling strong enough to resume ushering in church.MORE NEWS: Former New Jersey Resident Heartbroken After Dog Dies During Grooming At PetSmart