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Coronavirus In Minnesota: WWII Veteran Celebrates Turning 101 Years Old And Surviving COVID-19

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A member of the greatest generation is home recovering after winning a battle over COVID-19.

Samuel Nilva is a World War II veteran and was treated for his symptoms at the Minneapolis VA -- veterans hospital.

VA staff threw the 101-year-old a party to celebrate his birthday and his amazing recovery.

Nilva woke Tuesday morning to word of his discharge from the hospital. He also learned of a special celebration in his honor.

VA staff that took care of the World War II veteran were all about surprising him with a party for his 101st birthday.

"His birthday was actually on Wednesday, but they made the party Tuesday because they wanted to do something before he left," Samuel's daughter Barbara Nevin said.

"I'm his greatest cheerleader I would say," she said.

On this day, others joined that cheerleading squad to celebrate a man who overcame incredible obstacles and beat COVID-19.

"He had the same brain surgery that Jimmy Carter had," she said.

Nevin says her dad fully recovered from the operation.

Nilva was born on April 29, 1919 -- during the height of the Spanish Flu epidemic.

He has also survived other pandemics and told his daughter how love of his country got him through it all.

"I survived polio, I survived World World II, I survived so many things I want people to know that we can get through this and I love my country and if anyone can solve this pandemic it's this country," she said.

She says her dad believes in the U.S. health care system and has a message of hope for all who will hear.

"Just kind of remember my dad's words that we can get through this and nothing is impossible and he doesn't want people to be afraid, he told me that numerous times" she said.

She talks to her father everyday but says she can't wait until she can hold him and tell him how much he is loved.


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