BELLEVUE, Wis. (WFRV)- On Sunday Rolland Briar, a Pearl Harbor survivor, received a surprise birthday celebration in the courtyard of the Bellevue Senior Living facility. In attendance, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Briar is no stranger to WFRV, he was featured as a Hometown Hero in 2019.
“I think he is going to be overwhelmed and then I think once we start reading some of the cards, where they are from, and who they are from…it’s going to affect him, “said Bette Briar-Tilot, Briar’s daughter. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the usual family get together was not possible, so the next best think was to bring the party to him. “We are having it right outside of his patio, he doesn’t have to walk far,” said Briar-Tilot.
What started out as a request for 99 cards for his 99th birthday actually turned into over 250 cards from all over the Country. “We received cards from 13 states including Hawaii,” said Briar-Tilot. The most cards though came from right here in Wisconsin. “We even got a card from the Green Bay Packers,” said Briar-Tilot. Briar has been a Packer fan since the 1950’s.
Oliver Thrasher is Briar’s great-grandson. “He’s 99-years-old an I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who is that old. I think that is amazing,” said Thrasher. He also told Local 5’s Eric Richards that his dad served in the Army and he might follow in his dad and great grandfather’s foot steps into the military. He has a few years to go on that.
Today Rolland Briar is a man of few words, but couldn’t contain his excitement and gratitude. “Just thank you for all of this, I just can’t imagine,” said Briar. After his time in the service, Briar worked for many years at Green Bay Packing Inc. He is also a graduate of Marinette High School. If you would like to send a special birthday greeting, click here. Briar and his family look forward to celebrating his 100th birthday in a post-pandemic era.