Friends celebrate Tremont veteran turning 97
PEORIA (WEEK) - A World War II hero and friendly face in Tremont turned 97 on Sunday. His loved ones had a parade for him.
Edwin Eugene Neeley, loving nick-named Gene, was surprised with a drive-by parade.
The party happened right outside of Neeley’s house.
They gave him gifts, cards, and sang him happy birthday.
Neeley volunteered for the Greater Peoria Veteran Honor Flight. A group that helped fly veterans to D.C. to see their memorial.
“Many many people know him and know how hard he works for our organization to fundraise to send other veterans to Washington D.C. so we couldn’t do what we do without him,” friend of Gene Phyllis Piraino sais. “Any day we can celebrate Gene is a good day. He deserves to be celebrated everyday.”
In 2019, Neeley was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his time in the military.
He said getting older, things don’t change much, and he plans to keep moving each day.
His motto is “When you get up in the morning, you say, well, what am I going to do today? And you get up and do it.”
“I just can’t say enough, to all these people, tremonts a small town,” Neeley said. “Thank you for all you people.”
After his parade Neeley got dozens of letters from around the world and from local elementary students.
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