World War II veteran Richard Sprow, of Levittown — by way of Altoona — should have a great 94th birthday Tuesday. Not only did his favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers win the game against the Eagles on Sunday, but he's received about 50 cards from well-wishers.
And he’s still marveling about the drive-by vehicle parade that his neighbors in the Blue Ridge section of Bristol Township, the John Billington VFW Post 6495 in Levittown, Warrior Watch and several fire companies gave him Saturday to mark the special occasion.
“He thought it was outstanding...It was just great, more than I expected,” said his son, Rick Sprow, also of Bristol Township.
The Croydon, Third District, Levittown Fire Co. No. 2 and Edgely fire companies, all in Bristol Township, sent fire trucks to join other vehicles as they passed by Sprow’s home to honor him.
Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1, and state Rep. Tina Davis, D-141, also came to present him with flags that flew over the nation’s and the state’s Capitols and state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, R-6, sent a flag as well.
Richard’s next-door neighbor, Jackie Wynkoop, put the parade together to honor him and requested cards for him on Facebook because “he served his country. Veterans are my favorite people,” she said. "He's one of the last World War II vets."
She helps out at the VFW Post and the American Legion Post in Yardley. Her family members served in the armed forces as well and she said she enjoys hearing Richard's stories of his military service.
Sprow enlisted in the Army Air Corps when he was 17 and was sent to the South China Sea where he worked as a navigator on a rescue boat out to save downed fliers and other military personnel lost at sea during the war. He later was sent to Japan to help out there as the war ended.
When he returned to the United States, he went home to Altoona, where he married. He and his late wife, Doris, had their daughter, Ann, who had disabilities and has passed away, and son, Rick, before moving to Levittown in 1954. They were one of the community's original homebuyers.
Sprow now has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Since he retired from his job as a supervisor with a tempered glass manufacturer in Montgomery County, Sprow enjoys watching football, especially the Steelers as do many area residents who came here from western Pennsylvania, his son pointed out,- and gardening to stay fit.
“He loves working in the yard,” his son said.
Rick said his father has slowed down a little physically, but his mind and memory are still in great shape. “If he’s not as sharp as a tack, he’s right next to it,” he said.
Following the parade, the family celebrated his birthday, but privately because of the COVID situation.
“We did the best we could and took care of him at his home here,” Rick said.
Now, Richard will spend his actual birthday looking at all the cards that Facebook friends have sent him.