Alabama WWII vet beats coronavirus in time to celebrate 104th birthday

Alabama WWII vet beats coronavirus in time to celebrate 104th birthday
Major Wooten overcame a bout of COVID-19 in time to celebrate his 104th birthday on Wednesday. (H. Armstrong Roberts/Classicstock/Getty Images)

MADISON, Ala. — An Alabama World War II veteran is still fighting battles -- and winning.

Major Wooten left a hospital in Madison on Tuesday after being treated for the coronavirus, WAFF-TV reported. Just in time. Wooten turned 104 on Wednesday.

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Wooten left the hospital in a wheelchair, as nurses, doctors and family members cheered and applauded, the television station reported.

“I’m just thankful that they were able to treat him so quickly and we were able to get him tested,” Wooten’s granddaughter, Holley Wooten McDonald, told The Associated Press. “It’s amazing that a 104-year-old survived COVID.”

McDonald said her grandfather, who worked with U.S. Steel in Birmingham after the war, tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 23 after her mother -- his daughter -- got the illness, the AP reported.

Wooten received a dose of the newly approved monoclonal antibody therapy, bamlanivimab, but was physically drained the next day and had to be taken to the hospital the day before Thanksgiving, McDonald said.

“I don’t know if that medicine just started working … but within 24 hours he was better,” McDonald told the AP, adding that her grandfather’s blood oxygen levels are good and his lungs are “clear as a bell.”

Wooten served in the U.S. Army for several years abroad. He built railroads and worked on rail cars in Paris during the 1940s, WAFF reported.

“I did what I was asked to do, and I wanted to get out as quick as I could,” Wooten told the television station in 2018. “I think everybody had that in mind. It was great, and I enjoyed it. I’ve been in combat zones, but never in combat.”

In 2019, Wooten returned to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

For Wooten’s birthday, a company erected a yard display that included the Alabama athletics logo, a cake, candles and a patriotic hat.

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