VIRGINIA BEACH, Va -- It was a major milestone for a retired World War II veteran as he celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday.
Walter Shevock's birthday celebration took place as a social distancing-style parade because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a milestone Shevock said he did not think he would see.
"Oh no, no, never," Shevock said. "For all I've been through, I never thought I'd reach 100."
He sat in front of his Virginia Beach home with friends and family. A motorcade of cars, motorbikes, and fire trucks drove past. They waved to Shevock, a show he says he said he also did not see coming.
"I knew something was going to be set up, but I didn't know all of this," Shevock said.
The parade was organized by Shevock's granddaughter, Allyce Mitchell. She said she got the idea after seeing other social distance-style parades across Hampton Roads celebrating birthdays.
"Then we just reached out to all of our friends and family, and everybody else who loved my grandfather," Mitchell said.
Neighbors also lined the narrow residential street to see the motorcade and wish Shevock a "happy birthday." Some of the cars stopped in front of his house to drop off gifts and some also held up poster-board signs with birthday wishes.
Among the guests included, the Chief of the Virginia Beach Fire Department and Mayor Bobby Dyer by phone.
"You are the heart and spirit of Virginia Beach and makes us great and I just wanted to call and wish you blessings," Dyer told Shevock by phone.
Shevock was part of the Army Aircorp and joined before World War II began. Though he served during the war, he said he never saw the battlefield.
"I joined the army before the war, way before the war," Shevock said. "I had to stay until it was over, I worked on aircraft."
One of Walter's favorite activities, he said, is gardening. He has a garden behind his home where he planted fruits, vegetables, and even flowers. He added gardening is one of his secrets to a long life, as well as not smoking or drinking.
"It's going to be an amazing memory that he is able to reach this milestone and spend it with his family," Mitchell said.