Local World War II veteran receives surprise parade on his 100th birthday

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GILES COUNTY, Va. – This week marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II — it’s also a special milestone for a local World War II veteran who just turned 100 years old. Hitting that century mark deserves a massive celebration, especially for someone who served our country, and the Giles County community did not disappoint.

June Atkins of Giles County was born on Aug. 23, 1920.

“That was a long time ago. I’ve lived here all my life,” Atkins said.

He lives with his wife Dora of 74 years in their Maybrook home.

“I’m the reason he’s 100 years old,” Dora said while laughing.

The couple fell in love after he came home from war. They were married in 1946. She admits it was June’s army uniform that got her attention.

“That was way back in 1945,” Dora said.

In Giles, June is known as one of the “Maybrook Men.” He is one of five brothers who all served in World War II at the same time. He was the first to be drafted in 1942.

A sixth brother served in the Korean War. “I was 19 years old when I was in the army. Stayed three years and spent 22 months overseas,” June said.

The war took that then small-town Giles county boy all over the world.

“I did Italy, France, North Africa, Casablanca. I was all over Europe,” June said.

After all he lived through, the community wasn’t going to let COVID-19 stop them from giving June the 100th birthday celebration he deserved. While sitting on his front lawn in front of Route 460, June was surprised by his very own parade passing by his home.

The parade was organized through Facebook. A crowd gathered at Super Val-U grocery on Junes birthday and left in unison to deliver him well wishes. The parade was led by motorcycles followed by countless cars, antique vehicles and even local police.

Some even gathered to sing June ‘happy birthday’ from a safe distance on his front lawn. Just like he and his only living brother John still have so many stories to tell, the community still honors the service given by the Atkins family. No matter how many decades have passed, their service is not forgotten

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