Happy Birthday William Lapschies – 104 Year Old Veteran COVID-19 Survivor

 In Veterans

WWII Army veteran William Lapschies is so far the oldest veteran to survive COVID-19. And he is surviving just in time to celebrate his 104th birthday.

“He is fully recovered. He is very perky. And he is very excited.” Williams’ daughter Carolee Brown

William Lapschies (AKA Bill) lives at the Edward C. Allworth Veterans’ Home in Lebanon, Oregon.  So far, 16  residents have tested positive and two have died.  He began to exhibit symptoms of the disease on March 5.

KOIN reported,

Staffers have been caring for him while using personal protective equipment, including gloves, gowns, face masks and plastic face shields. As of this week, “he has met the guidelines by the CDC and Oregon Health Authority to be considered recovered from COVID-19,” according to a spokesman for the VA.

But his recovery was not a cake-walk.  On March, 10, according to Stripes, a doctor at the home called Carolee to tell her that her father wasn’t doing well. His breathing was labored and his fever had spiked. The family thought that end-of-life decisions would have to be made.

The family drove to Lebanon, only to find Lapschies sitting in a wheelchair with his back to the window. They rapped on the glass and the caregiver inside turned on the outside speaker so he could hear them. He had begun to “kick” the disease and was doing much better.

William Lapschies was born in Salem, Oregon, and was just two years old when the Spanish Flu epidemic hit the world. He never got it. In 1943, he was drafted into the US Army to end up on the Aleutian Islands dispatching trucks and heavy machinery. After the war, he became a used car salesman in Oregon.

Stripes reported,

“…The entire family’s love of the outdoors, Brown said, traces back to Lapschies, who took his two daughters and wife camping – often with a slew of neighborhood kids tagging along – at a time when spending a few days in the woods wasn’t yet all the rage. She remembers the Army-issue tents they slept in and the smelly Army sleeping bags….

…The family kept the list of those attending Wednesday’s party small so everyone could easily stay at least 6 feet away from each other.

But, Brown said, her father’s 105th birthday party will be different.

“We’re really going to have a big one,” she said.”

No information was released as to the treatment given to William Lapschies. His daughter believe it is his upbeat attitude that helped him survive. However it happened, he may very well be the oldest veteran to recover from COVID-19. Congratulations, and Happy Birthday, William!

Featured photo: screenshot via KOIN


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