‘I’m a warrior, not a worrier’: Local WWII veteran earns new medals after beating COVID-19

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — He survived World War II, and now a pandemic.

FOX4 told you about Marine Max Deweese last month when he was hospitalized with COVID-19.

On Thursday, he earned two new medals and walked out of his rehab facility — cured.

The 99-year-old doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“I’m a warrior, not a worrier,” Deweese said. “And I try not to worry about things that.”

A procession of family, friends, Marines and the health care workers who pulled him through lined the street to celebrate.

“I don’t know how that word got out to so many people,” Deweese said. “I really don’t.”

It’s a victory for Deweese. He added two medals to his collection, but says friendship is the true reward of what he’s endured.

“I have been so blessed with friendship and love from these people,” Deweese said. “That there’s nothing can replace it. Nothing. And hopefully it makes me a little better man than I was before I started.”

Paul Chappa with Friends in Service of Heroes has known Max for years and stood by him through this fight. He made one of the medals for Max,and is grateful to see he survived.

“There’s nothing that Max can’t do,” Chappa said. “It certainly scared us when we heard that Max had been admitted. But it’s no surprise that Max has beat this. Max’s attitude and never give up spirit is something that was ingrained in him as a young Marine, and it still lives with him today.”

Deweese said he can’t wait to get back to playing golf and spending time with his best friend fellow WWII Marine Jerry Ingram.

He said now life has a little more meaning.

“I’ve gone through four engagements in the Pacific World War Two and that was hell,” Deweese said. “This wasn’t near as bad because at my age, I figured out what’s going to happen is going to happen and all ride with it. So and I’ve ridden it and thank goodness the good Lord has seen fit to keep me around for a little while longer.”

Max is back home in Overland Park. He will be quarantined for two more weeks, but happy to know his battle with COVID-19 is over.

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