Navy veteran Helen Bieda celebrates 100th birthday
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - It has been a century in the making.
Navy veteran Helen Bieda turned 100 years old Sunday, and there was a big celebration at the Armed Force Retirement Home in Gulfport.
The scene took her by surprise.
“It looks like a funeral,” she said with a big laugh.
Helen’s sense of humor is infectious.
One could say her positivity leaves a mark. The good kind. The kind that makes an impression over generations.
“Just her wittiness and her ability to laugh at the most mundane things and just her happiness and joy,” said granddaughter Holly Edgerton. “It’s just something that I hope to one be able to emulate.”
Achieving the century mark was never a goal, although it is a minor miracle.
“She’s had chronic lymphatic leukemia since she was in her 60s.” said son Mike Bieda. “And they told her it was a chronic condition. So, we really never thought, and she never thought she would make it this far.”
But, to Helen, age is truly just a number.
“My age never occurred to me,” she said. “I was so busy taking care of kids, I didn’t have time to think about it.”
She had a lot of children.
“There were six of us. Six kids,” Mike Bieda said. “Good Catholic family.”
He said his mom knew how to run a household.
“She has been the rock of our family. Very religious. Very Catholic,” he said. “We call her Mother Superior because we went to mass and we had to come home with a bulletin and signed.”
Helen said faith has been her focal point.
“That is my guide. And I try to follow Him and do as he would like me for me to do,” she said. “I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but I’m trying to.”
And she’s not one to slow down.
Even after moving into the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, she has stayed busy.
“So, after we moved her in, my sister and I had a bet how long it would be before she took the place over,” Mike Bieda said. “And that lasted about three days. And she was on the board and everything else here.”
“I think that’s important,” said Brian Bieda, Helon’s grandson. “She has more of a social life that we do.”
The moment isn’t lost on Helen Bieda.
“It means just completing a circle.”
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