LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- One Lafayette man has become the first known World War II veteran to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Tippecanoe County. 97-year-old Wayne Firestone said he's happy to hold this title.
More than 80 years ago, Firestone stood on a battlefield as a U.S. infantry soldier during World War II. Now at age 97, he's found himself helping fight a new battle, Covid-19.
"The virus has created problems for everybody and I get discouraged when I see people not wearing their masks," said Firestone.
He's spent this pandemic staying inside to help prevent the spread of the virus. Being the first known World War II veteran in Lafayette to be vaccinated means a lot to him and his wife Linda Firestone.
"It means I'm getting old," said Firestone. "This vaccine will be able to allow people to get back to normal life as Wayne and I can get back. We usually spend the winters in Florida, we'd like to get back to the warm weather again," added Linda.
The Indiana State Health Department is continuing to broaden its pool of eligible people to receive the vaccine. But as we wait, the former soldier is encouraging the public to wear their masks as a shield of protection. He said it's one of the best ways to help win the battle.
"It's important that everyone do their part so it's not to spread the virus and if they don't, it's just going to get worse," said Firestone.
"It is a nice honor to get to give him his vaccination," said David Hodson, Firestone's step-son.
Hodson is the IU Health Arnett EMT who got to administer his stepfather's first shot, making the moment even more special for the family.
"Back then in World War II, it took the whole country to come together to overcome what we needed to. While this is fighting on a different front, we are still fighting an enemy that when the country comes together, when we all get these vaccines, we will get ahead of this as well," said Hodson.