Happy birthday to a Brown County hero

By Steve Nash / Brownwood Bulletin steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com
World War II veteran Bill Peirson celebrates his 106th birthday with a friend, Joan Murry, outside the Brownwood Senior Citizens Center Monday morning.

COVID didn’t stop a Brown County hero from being treated to a celebration for his 106th birthday Monday outside the Brownwood Senior Citizen Center.

Bill Peirson, who lives in Brownwood, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and spent time in England, France and Germany.

Monday morning, Peirson and a friend, Joan Murry, sat in chairs outside the senior citizens center. Decorative birthday balloons, anchored by strings attached to Peirson’s chair, floated a few feet in the air. A large sign had been placed nearby proclaiming Peirson’s106th birthday.

Other seniors drove up and stopped at the curbside, where senior citizen center workers handed them lunches in styrofoam containers. Before driving away, Peirson’s friends and fellow seniors called out birthday greetings and honked their vehicles' horns.

On other mornings, Pierson and his friend Murry are in one of those vehicles, stopping to be handed their lunches by senior citizens center staff members.

That’s been the routine now that the senior citizens center is closed because of COVID.

Sandra Salmon, who thinks of Peirson as a dad, said Peirson’s son died recently and his only remaining family consists of nieces and nephews.

She said Peirson, a retired postal worker, continues to work in his garden. “He doesn’t really need care,” Salmon said. “He’s in very good health for his age.”

The birthday celebration helped ease the isolation that has accompanied COVID, Salmon said.

“This was their life up here,” she said of the seniors.