A valentine is a message of love that can be given in many forms: cards, flowers, sweets or, this year for Harry and Pat Baker, a shot in the arm.
Harry, who is 100, and Pat, who is 98, are residents at Kirkland Crossings in Pewaukee, WI. Harry and Pat have celebrated many Valentine’s Days together. They’ve known each other since grade school. "We met on the baseball diamond," Harry recalled. "She played 3rd base, I played 1st." They went on to high school and college together. Just days after they were married in December 1943, Harry shipped off to Europe and WWII where he served in the US Army under General George Patton. He survived the Battle of the Bulge and did everything he could to stay alive he said, for one reason – to come home to Pat. After the war was over, Harry served in the Army for 20 more years.
They’ve been married now for 77 years. They have 3 children, 6 grandchildren and their first great-grandchild is on the way. Harry plans to do all he can to give them even more time together. His and Pat’s love for each other and their family is the biggest reason they stepped up willingly to be vaccinated for COVID-19. “So that we can be together as long as possible,” he said.
Harry has other reasons. “It’s good for all of us. It’s a commitment to humanity,” he said. “I can’t believe anyone would decline it.” Harry is so certain getting vaccinated is the right thing to do that he went on the local news to encourage other older adults to do the same. WISN-12, the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, sent reporter Courtney Sisk to interview Harry and Pat on January 28, the day they were vaccinated, and broadcast Harry receiving his shot.
Watch Harry and Pat on WISN-12 News
When asked what has kept his marriage to Pat strong and loving, Harry explained, “Our whole life has been based on courtesy.” He recounted the adventures he and Pat have enjoyed including over 15 cruises in the Caribbean and Europe. “We loved traveling together,” he recalled. A memorable highlight was traveling through Germany in some of the same places where he’d fought during the war. “It was great to be able to walk upright,” he laughed, remembering times in the trenches long ago.
Pat and Harry moved to Kirkland Crossings in 2002 and lived in the Village Homes. Just a few months ago, they moved into the main building to support their health needs: Harry to The Commons assisted living and Pat to The Arbor memory care. It’s the first time since the war that they’ve lived apart. “I spend every afternoon with Pat at The Arbor. I won’t go a day without seeing her,” he said.
On February 25, Harry and Pat will give each other one more valentine — another shot in the arm, their second COVID vaccinations. “I can’t wait,” Harry said, “The sooner the better for all.”
Be like Harry and get vaccinated as soon as you can. Click here to find out more about how PHS is making the COVID-19 vaccines available to its residents and staff.