World War II Army Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient Alfred Birdwell completed a mile-walk at Lake Madison Park on Saturday to help raise funds for two Veteran charities one day before his 100th birthday.
The charities benefited were the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial in College Station, which commemorates Birdwell’s service, as well as the Blinded Veterans Association. Birdwell suffers from a severe case of macular degeneration and is almost completely blind himself.
“You never know how much you miss your eyes until you lose them,” said Birdwell after he crossed the finish line to complete his walk. “I know that all blind Veterans will appreciate the help.”
The City of Madisonville was represented by Mayor Bill Parten, City Manager Camilla Viator along with Councilmen Jerry Harper and Dale Kovacs. Mayor Parten presented Birdwell with a proclamation on behalf of the city.
“I do proclaim November 17, 2018, as Mr. Alfred Preston Birdwell Day,” said Parten. “We not only thank you for 100 years of service, but the dedication that you have given to many people. We thank you for your service in World War II so that today we might gather together and honor you.”
Also in attendance for the event was the American Legion, who made a presentation to Birdwell on behalf of State Representative Trent Ashby. They presented him with an American flag as well as a certificate stating that it was flown in front of the Texas State Capital.
Upon learning that a flag was flown in honor of his birthday, Mr. Birdwell admitted “you never what is going to happen.”
On top of city officials and local well-wishers, Birdwell was supported by multiple family members in attendance as well as Rae Kubiak, Madisonville Assisted Living Executive Director. Kubiak was the first to hear Birdwell’s birthday wish and helped coordinate the event with his family and the community.
“It means a lot to everyone, especially (Birdwell), for all of you to come out, walk with him and honor his service,” said Kubiak following the presentations. “He is a real special guy. When the weather is good, you can find him out on the front porch at Assisted Living. He always loves to visit, talk and tell stories.”
A celebration for Birdwell’s birthday was held for family members at Assisted Living following the morning’s events. Included on the cake was an American flag and a Purple Heart. Alfred Birdwell officially turned 100 years old on Sunday.