At age 104, Bill Lapschies has just survived his second pandemic—and he’s pretty darn excited.
“Woooo!”said the World War II veteran, who lived through the 1918 flu pandemic as a toddler, as he celebrated his birthday outside Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, Oregon, this week, per the Oregonian.
Lapschies was among the first of 15 residents to test positive for COVID-19 on March 11, almost a week after developing symptoms.
He fell “very very sick,” daughter Carolee Brown tells KOIN. But while two residents of the home have since died, Lapschies has “met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered,” according to a Veteran Affairs spokesperson.
The Oregonian reports he may be the world’s oldest coronavirus survivor.
Image: Bill Lapschies
“He just made this wonderful recovery,” says Brown, who attended Wednesday’s celebration, complete with balloons and chocolate cake. “We were like shocked that he was kind of sitting in his wheelchair waving at us through the window.”
Asked how he felt at 104, Lapschies, allowed outside for the first time in weeks, responded, “Pretty good. I made it.”
He then added, “Good for a few more.”
Brown believes her father’s “upbeat attitude” played a role in his recovery. “He’s never down,” she tells the Oregonian.
Granddaughter Jamie Yutzie, meanwhile, credits health care workers at the nursing home.
Lapschies was drafted into the US Army in 1943, but now it’s these workers who are “on the front lines and in the trenches,” she tells the Washington Post. “They’re the heroes now.”