Sunday, December 4, 2022

World War II veteran celebrates 100th birthday

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GARDEN CITY, S.C. (WMBF) – Southside Patty’s in Garden City might be just a sports bar to some, but Chuck Tompkins makes memories there every week.

He made new memories Friday, as many came to celebrate his 100th birthday.

“If you ask him, he will tell you he didn’t do anything,” said his son, Keith Tompkins.

Pfc. Clarence Tompkins, better known as Chuck, is actually a highly-decorated World War II Veteran.

“He’s been very humble, even though he went through a lot in the war, and he saved several people’s lives,” his son said.

Tompkins joined the United States Army in 1942.

On June 12, 1944, Tompkins escorted a medic to another wounded soldier, all while under heavy attack during the Battle of Normandy.

He then helped evacuate both soldiers to safety while taking sniper fire.

“He says when people thank him for his service in World War II, he says, ‘All I was trying to do was keep my butt alive and my soldiers,’’’ said Pat Tompkins-McCormick, his daughter.

During his time in the service, he received two Purple Hearts after being hit in the back four times during the Battle of the Bulge, six months after D-Day.

Some of his other awards include a Combat Infantry Badge, as well as a Bronze and Silver star.

He’s often asked what his secret is to make it far in this life.

“He was always moving and always doing something, and I think that was the secret to his long life,” said Tompkins-McCormick.

Years later, Tompkins found a new passion: ballroom dancing.

Chuck has been in Myrtle Beach for about three years and even in his late 90′s, his relationship with others is still very important to him, just as important as his relationship with his soldiers.

“I’m so proud of him, I’m already planning for next year,” said his best friend, Ed McCormick. “He’s going to be there, he’s gonna be here for a while. He’s in such great health and has a great attitude.”

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