An elderly woman celebrated her 100th birthday in a way she’ll never forget.
Jeanette Carty had recently lost her husband of 74 years. Joe Carty, a decorated firefighter, had served 30 years with the Norfolk Fire-Rescue Department in Virginia before his passing at 94.
Not wanting to separate from her best memories, Jeanette still lived in the house where she built and raised her family. Now, a grandmother and great-grandmother many times over, she was about to celebrate a century of life.
The firefighters of Norfolk felt the need to wish her a happy birthday in a way she’d always remember.
The morning of her 100th birthday, recruits handed her a bouquet of sunflowers (her favorite) and proceeded to escort the elderly woman from her home. Waiting for her in the street was an assembly of firefighters giving rounds of applause.
“I was never more surprised in my life,” Carty says. “To see the firemen all lined up with their red shirts and black pants, oh my goodness it was amazing.”
As the widow of a former member of the Norfolk Fire-Rescue Department, Jeanette was considered “family.”
Battalion Chief Julian Williamson offered to explain how deeply the department cared for her.
“That’s the real big connection…It’s that way with fire departments,” Williamson said. “Once you’re in and you serve, you’re part of a close-knit family.”
A formal celebration with the rest of Carty’s friends and family followed later that day. When asked the secret to reaching 100 years of age, Jeanette offered a short and sweet explanation.
“I’ve lived a pretty simple life.”
Source: NBC News