It’s always a good day to hear some good news.
And World War II veteran Max DeWeese has his very own good news to share: his recovery from COVID-19.
But he also wants the world to know what key factor he credits with saving his life.
DeWeese, a Kansas City resident, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in April.
At 99 years of age, he didn’t expect to survive the virus.
DeWeese had already been through a lot in his life, including World War II.
After enlisting in the Marines as a young man, the veteran served as a flamethrower in the South Pacific, receiving two Purple Hearts for his courageous service.
But his latest battle—where he faced the dreaded coronavirus—was as tough as any he fought during WWII.
“Oh, I was sick—there was no question about that. I’ve gone through hell more than once and this came almost as close,” DeWeese said.
After being diagnosed with COVID-19, DeWeese was admitted to the hospital for intense treatment. He also spent time in a Kansas City rehab facility, fully expecting to face the end of his life any day.
“I was worried about him,” said Shirley Hansell, DeWeese’s surrogate daughter. “I talked to him twice a day for weeks. Nobody knew what the end result would be.”
But, as we’ve seen over the last several weeks, miracles are abounding amid this pandemic. And DeWeese’s miracle came in early May when he was pronounced healthy and successfully discharged from the hospital!
“There’s nothing that Max can’t do,” said Paul Chappa, a member of Friends in Service of Heroes. He’s known DeWeese for several years and was a big supporter during the veteran’s COVID-19 battle.
“It certainly scared us when we heard that Max had been admitted,” Chappa continued. “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.”
To honor his friend’s strength and tenacity, Chappa helped organize a surprise send-off celebration on the day of DeWeese’s discharge.
Healthcare workers, family, and friends gathered outside the hospital to congratulate DeWeese and celebrate his recovery.
They were joined by firefighters, officers from the Kansas City Police Department, and a full Marine Color Guard unit! The crowd cheered for DeWeese and even bestowed two “medals” on the hero to honor him.
Chappa made one of the medals, a plaque that read, “I Beat COVID-19 in 2020,” and personally hung it around his friend’s neck.
DeWeese was touched and a bit overwhelmed by the celebration.
“I don’t know how that word got out to so many people,” the veteran said, marveling at the crowd that came out to cheer for his discharge. “I really don’t.”
“Expected maybe a friend or two, but to have all this and to get these, I don’t know how to describe it.”
DeWeese himself has stayed humble and kept the focus on God throughout his illness and recovery. He knows that his time as a soldier prepared him for this moment.
“I’ve gone through four engagements in the Pacific World War Two and that was hell,” DeWeese commented. “This wasn’t near as bad because at my age, I figured out what’s going to happen is going to happen and I’ll ride with it.”
DeWeese publicly offered thanks to God for healing him, crediting His goodness and faithfulness as the key factor behind his recovery.
“I’ve ridden it and thank goodness the good Lord has seen fit to keep me around for a little while longer,” the veteran noted.
He also thanked his family, friends, and supporters for their prayers and concern through the whole ordeal.
“I’ve got a lot of people that I know were not necessarily friends of mine that have heard about me, and have been including me in their prayers and concern, and if it weren’t for people like that I wouldn’t be here today.”
When asked if he was worried when he initially received his diagnosis and began treatment, DeWeese said, “I’m a warrior, not a worrier. And I try not to worry about things like that.”
He encourages others to also stay strong and avoid worrying during the remainder of the pandemic.
“This will pass, folks, and we’ll be grateful for what we have.”