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101-Year-Old World War II Veteran Keeps Spirits Soaring On Long Island

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A remarkable centenarian on Long Island is keeping spirits soaring. Walter Reed served in World War II, and his strength and courage are inspiring much younger vets around him; CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.

Video Transcript

- A remarkable centenarian on Long Island is keeping spirits soaring. His name is Walter Reed. Yes, it matches the same name as the military medical center in Maryland. But this Walter Reed served in World War II. His strength and courage are inspiring much younger vets around him.

CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan has more in tonight's Voices For Vets report.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Walter Reed has a century of stories to tell.

WALTER REED: My 101's birthday. [CHUCKLES]

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: You spent in the hospital?

WALTER REED: [CHUCKLES] Yeah.

[APPLAUSE]

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Walter slipped and broke his hips feeding birds and has been cooped up since Thanksgiving in hospital and rehab

WALTER REED: Oh, I feel so good to get home. I'm telling you, I've been away so long.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Walter, a widower, lives alone in East Rockaway, so his cherished buddies kept vigil at his hospital window.

WALTER REED: When you get 101-years-old-- I'm going on 102. I'm so happy to have good friends. A friend in need's a friend indeed.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: And that is the mission of vet-to-vet peer support, says Dwyer Project's Steven Rose.

STEVEN ROSE: We're gonna continue our tradition of making sure you're good because we love and care about you.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: 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.

WALTER REED: December 7, 1940 when I enlisted.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Oh, what a day that was.

WALTER REED: And I came out in 1945.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Walter worked production for the CBS game show "What's My Line," was a trolley and subway conductor, a race car driver on this side.

- We're just glad to have Walter back with us.

- We help each other. We heal each other.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: The veterans who are providing help gain a sense of satisfaction and the knowledge that they are making a real difference.

Walter savors the companionship and often challenges the vets to memorize his little ditties.

WALTER REED: Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better than your better's best.

- Who's the best dancer in town?

WALTER REED: Yeah.

- You.

His 100th birthday, there was a line to dance with Walter.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Walter thinks his 101-year-old hips are feeling even strong enough to resume ushering in church. From East Rockaway, Long Island, Jennifer McLogan, CBS 2 News.