Community invited to send cards for WWII veteran’s 100th birthday
RESERVE — World War II veteran Albert Mitchell, a resident at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve, is celebrating his 100th birthday on December 28.
The Activity Department at the Veterans Home is inviting the community to send personalized birthday cards in honor of Mitchell’s birthday and his service to our country.
Cards can be addressed as follows:
Mr. Albert Mitchell
Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home
4080 W. Airline Highway
Reserve, LA 70084
Mitchell recently buried his last sibling, which makes him the sole surviving child of his family. He has been a resident at the Veterans Home in Reserve since 2015 and is a native of Harahan.
According to a letter addressed by the Activity Department, Mitchell served in the United States Army for four years during World War II. During that time, he worked for an engineering company.
After the war ended, Mitchell returned home and worked for Schott’s Packing House, a meat packing company, for 40 years before retiring. The company was located across the street from the New Orleans Superdome.
Mitchell also served as a commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he enjoyed calling bingo on VFW nights. He was married to his late wife, Nita, for 64 years, and the union blessed him with two daughters, Debra and Joyce.
Mitchell said his secret to longevity was leading a good life, stating, “I worked hard, I was always honest and I helped everyone that I could.”
Activity Director Sonya Hebert said Mitchell always goes out of his way to assist others, even if it’s as simple as fetching a water or a coffee for a fellow veteran.
“Mr. Mitchell is the one who greets everyone coming to the home. He’s going to greet people and welcome them,” Hebert said. “He’s also the one with the compassionate heart. Whatever he can do to help somebody, that’s what he does.”
Mitchell enjoys drinking coffee and keeping up with the news. He’s Southern through and through with a major love for country music, fishing and hunting. His other interests include exercising, bingo and attending the monthly Peanut Auction at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home.
He also has quite the sense of humor, according to Hebert.
When Hebert asked him what it would mean to him to receive a bunch of birthday cards, Mitchell joked it makes him happy to know that a lot of people are pulling for him to make it to Dec. 28. He was glad to hear that Mr. Brian Fremin, the administrator of the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home, is looking forward to celebrating his birthday.
“He really appreciates that he has that many friends,” Hebert said.
While traditional birthday parties at the Veterans Home once involved oldie but goodies bands and larger celebrations, Mitchell’s birthday party will have to be small and intimate to keep him and others safe from COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean the day will pass without a celebration — Hebert said Mr. Mitchell will have birthday cake and an opportunity for outdoor visitation with his daughters.
“Things have changed since COVID. The parties have been more individualized as of late,” Hebert said. “We always do a cake and ice cream. We sing and we have candles. We celebrate and have FaceTime calls with the families while they open presents. We want to make sure his family is around for his 100th birthday, even if it’s just seeing his two daughters and the staff.”
Several governing officials around the state have committed to sending proclamations for Mitchell’s 100th birthday, and St. John Sheriff Mike Tregre has pledged to honor him on his special day.
Hebert hopes the community will join in and help make Dec. 28, 2020 a day to remember.
“He’s an overall fine Christian man who’s led a wonderful life. He has a lot to be proud of,” Hebert said.
For more information, call the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home at 985-479-4080.