EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) — A WWII veteran from the Tri-State turns 100 on Saturday, making her the oldest female veteran in Vanderburgh County.
Congressman Larry Bucshon and others gathered to present her with a special gift on Friday.
Irene Blessing served as a nurse during WWII, and at one point, went three years without seeing her husband, or knowing where he was stationed.
Since then, her family has served in all branches of the military. But Friday was all about Mrs. Blessing.
“I just never thought I’d live this long! But the Lord, I guess, had other plans for me!”
Those plans were laid out in pictures of a life well-lived.
“There’s so much that….at times, I just fill up with gratitude,” she reflected.
For this hero’s 100th birthday, the country she loves so much honored her service with a gift, presented by Congressman Bucshon.
“This flag’s been flown over the United States Capitol in honor of Irene’s 100th birthday.”
He read her a statement recognizing her time in Europe, and she remembered the soldiers in her care,
“Oh, at night did they sing!”
Photographs in hand, she offered everyone in the room a look into 100 years of history.
“That was one of our captains.”
These days, Irene is still on the go.
“I like to keep busy.”
And she’s had 100 years to perfect her infectious sense of humor.
“That’s pretty big flag, Irene!”
Despite a life-time of sacrifice and service, she is humble; surprised by the fact that so many people want to celebrate her.
“Overwhelmed. There’s just so many different people!”
“She’s a very special person,” said Congressman Bucshon. “What she did for our troops, and what she did for all wounded soldiers on both sides.”
But perhaps it is also the advice that she lives by, that makes her so loved.
“Be good to all of your families. Remember your church, and God.”
And as for Irene’s stories, she’s now got one more to add to her memory books.
“To think that I have got a flag now, that has flown over our capitol […] Our flag is the most beautiful in all the world!”
Irene wears red every Friday, and says she will, until all the troops come home.
Her friends and family will celebrate her life Saturday during a private party.
If you want to send a card to Irene for her birthday, you can send it to the Evansville Protestant Home at:
3701 Washington Avenue
Evansville, Indiana 47714