East Tennessee WWII veteran celebrates 99th birthday with drive-by party


One local World War II veteran marked his 99th birthday with a drive-by birthday party on Monday.

J.O. Gates is a lifelong East Tennessee resident. His church said due to the pandemic he and his wife, Alma Sue, haven’t been able to attend church for several months. So his church came to him.

“During COVID we found out J.O. has cancer so we wanted to make this birthday extra special which we try to have a big party every year and we weren’t able to so we did the next best thing,” family member Jenny Somerville said.

“It’s been a pleasure to meet people and I’ve been so blessed,” Gates said, “You go all this time and you got to have some good. Some good. I found in it.”

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