World War II veteran celebrates 101st birthday

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County man is celebrating a milestone in a big way.

Bill Hastie is a World War II veteran and the last living survivor of the Knox Mine disaster and today he turned 101!

Bill Hastie saluted first responders, family, and friends as his favorite instrument played in the background at his 101st birthday celebration.

“It would be a blow to my ego to see that many people of consequence gather here,” Hastie said.

For those who showed appreciation it was not just for his birthday but for his service in World War II. He is also the last survivor of the Knox Mine Disaster in 1959 in Jenkins Township.

“He did what he had to do to help who he could out. My dad said it was amazing that those miners ever found that because it was so dark down underneath there,” Hastie’s son Trevor said.

Trevor got to celebrate his father’s birthday – the first time he has seen him since January because of the pandemic.

“Aww. My heart. That’s why I’m a little nervous here. You know, it goes pretty deep, me and my dad. I spent the last 20 years with him before he came here,” Trevor said.

Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center put on the birthday party and parade outside the community living center Thursday. Despite uncertain times, the Hastie family wanted to make Bill’s birthday a celebration he will always remember.

“He loves it. He is a very humble person, you know. He wouldn’t want this but he’ll enjoy it,” Trevor said.

When asked if it was a fun day, Bill replied: “Yes!”

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown read a proclamation marking today, May 28th, 2020 as Bill Hastie Day in the city.

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