It’s been a rough year for Bethel Killman, 99, of Scottsburg, but he’s hoping his 100thbirthday marks a turnaround.
In April, the World War II vet was diagnosed with a heart valve problem and given five months to live. In September, he lost his wife.
Now, less than two weeks before his 100th birthday, the World War II veteran’s family is trying to cheer him up with a community-wide birthday party.
“Bethel was feeling down about his prognosis last year, so I told him I would throw him a party for his 100th birthday,” Steven Phillips, who dates Killman’s stepdaughter, tells WLKY. “I own the Hardy Café in Scottsburg, so I said I’m going to throw you a birthday party there and get you a hundred kisses on your head. And he beamed up at me and said, ‘Well how much is that going to cost me?’”
Phillips said he would take care of everything.
Killman’s party will be held at 2 p.m. on March 17 at Hardy Café on Main Street. Everyone is welcome to attend and give Killman a kiss, a card or just a friendly, “Happy Birthday.”
Phillips said Killman was a member of the Old Guard and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. “The American Legion will be at the party. We’re going to pull out some old pictures and try to dig up some memories from his service. It’ll be special for him.”
“Killman is excited about the party and the kisses. I think it’s really kept him going,” Phillips says.
The cards are an added bonus, an idea sparked by Killman’s grandkids who posted a photo on Facebook. It has since racked up more than 1,000 shares.
If you’d like to send a birthday card, Killman’s address is:
966 Wilson Road
Scottsburg, IN 47170