The 100th birthday of Piney Island resident Dick Henry was Sept. 27, and Henry's neighbors on Piney Island and Little Piney Island and beyond honored him, including Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, where Henry was invited to raise the flag, and Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
Henry, a World War II veteran and a retired chief fire control technician, was at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 during the attack by Japan. Henry enlisted in the Navy in 1939 and retired after 20 years of honorable service.
The celebrations were organized by neighbors Lisa Peat and Joy Slebos.
According to his neighbors, Henry is frequently spotted on the islands during his daily walks. Peat walked with Henry to see balloons and signs on every mailbox on Piney Island over the weekend.
Sherry Bean, another neighbor, told the News-Leader that Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Director Jon Slebos, who lives a few doors down from Henry, arranged for two fire trucks and three police cars, with lights flashing, to lead a parade of about 50 decorated cars through Henry’s circular driveway while he stood on the front porch with Joy Slebos. “He was quite moved,” Bean said in an email.
Henry was invited to Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Monday and was accompanied by his close friend, Laura Williams. At NAS Jacksonville, Henry met with several Navy chiefs and was presented with coins from NAS Jacksonville Command Master Chief Dylan Inger.
Also on Monday, Rear Adm. John Spencer, commander, Submarine Group 10, presented Chief Fire Control Technician Richard Henry (retired) with a flag, letter and coin in celebration of his 100th birthday on behalf of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith.