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Houston community invited to celebrate Korean War Veteran’s 89th birthday with parade

HOUSTON – A Houston veteran is celebrating a special milestone on Saturday and the community is invited.

Master Sergeant Joe Ramirez Sr,. is turning 89 years old on Aug. 8 and everyone is on the invitation list for his socially distanced birthday parade.

The 88-year-old served in the U.S. Army for 22 years, is Purple Heart recipient and Korean War veteran. In 1950, he was captured as a prisoner of war in North Korea. When he was released 33 months later, Houston welcomed him home with a parade on August 10, 1953, two days after his birthday.

So it’s fitting Houstonians will parade down the streets for him once more on his 89th birthday on August 8.

The Houston Lady Lions Club is helping Ramirez’s family plan the celebration, which will feature lots of red, white and blue.

“We’re extremely happy and excited to give him a memorable parade where we’ll have him surrounded by love and patriotism,” said Lucy Gonzales, MD-2 Texas State Chair for New Voices for Lions International.

Due to his health Sgt. Ramirez will be wheeled outside to watch the cars drive to take part in the parade down Avenue Q in East Houston.

“He had colon cancer 17 years ago and it reappeared a year ago and he’s been under hospice care about two and a half months now,” said daughter Rosanna Bobbitt. “It’s hard but he’s a strong man. He’s a fighter. He’s hoping to be here a long time, even if it is under hospice care.”

The car parade will begin at Higaldo Park on August 8 at 3:30 p.m. The park is located at 7000 Avenue Q in East Houston. Attendees are encouraged to stay in their cars, wear a mask, maintain a social distance and bring a birthday card.