BOSSIER CITY, La. -- After about a three-month break due to the coronavirus, our Hometown Patriot series is back. And so is Pleasant Burns. He not only survived World War II, but also COVID-19 -- at age 99!
His daughter, Susan George, still has to practice social distancing when she visits. Both she and Pleasant wore masks, seated in folding chairs under a canopy that provided shade outside Pleasant's room at The Blake senior living center.
But that set up is better than things were a few months ago.
"He was locked down. So every day I'd come by and knock on his window. I was thankful he had a downstairs apartment," Susan said. "We would talk on the phone so we could hear each other."
Then Pleasant got the coronavirus. He was in the hospital 5 days.
"It was frightening," Susan recalled. "You go through all the what ifs. He's 99. What if this is the last time I get to visit him? What if this is the last time I get to hug him?"
After the hospital stay, Pleasant was isolated for four weeks to make sure he was recovered. A snapshot shows him flashing the victory sign as he did laps around The Blake in his motorized scooter, declaring victory over COVID-19.
"I was happy!" Pleasant says.
Susan is his nearest child of three, and has been with Pleasant every step of the way -- or at least as near she she could be.
"It's good for me. Bad for her," Pleasant joked, prompting a big laugh from Susan.
Something else Pleasant survived. World War II. Including the Battle of The Bulge in France. Pleasant was an military policeman. He was among American forces that were surrounded during Germany's last gasp offensive.
"If it hadn't been for Patton I wouldn't be here," he says.
After victory in Europe, Pleasant was shipped to the other front in the war -- Okinawa in the South Pacific. That's where he did more MP duty, like guarding prisoners, before finally coming home after four years of service.
Photo albums contain some of Pleasant's memories of the war. But he's more focused on what's ahead, like his next birthday.
"I'm gonna make a 100 and I'm going to have a family reunion," he vows.
"He is such a trooper. Anybody here will tell you that," says Susan. "He's always positive. You ask him how he's doing. He's going to tell you, 'Never had it so good.' And that's the way he looks at everything."
Pleasant is originally from Springhill. He had a long career as an electrician for Libbey Glass in Shreveport. He was named for Louisiana's Governor around the time he was born in 1921 -- Ruffin Pleasant.