Eastern Shore News Saturday, July 4, 2015 delmarvanow.com Tasley, VA.
[Image of an elderly African American man. On his head he is wearing an American Legion garrison cap that shows a cardinal, the American Legion emblem, and Exmore, Va. He is wearing a white shirt.] On July 4 birthday, salute to a vet Irving Jarvis, a World War II army veteran, will turn 90 on Saturday, July 4. Jarvis plans to celebrate with family and friends at his home in Eastville, Va
WWII veteran Irving Jarvis celebrates 90th birthday on Independence Day.
Malissa Watterson Staff Writer
This Saturday, Irving William Jarvis will receive salutes from family and friends for two special reasons.
The Eastville resident, who fought in World War II, will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Independence Day.
"World War II veterans now are getting very scarce. Very scarce," said Jarvis inside his home days before the holiday.
"You see a few every now and then but most of them died out. I'm lucky to be around here," he said.
Just after turning 18 in 1943, Jarvis joined the Army and was deployed to Burma, which borders India, China and Thailand.
There, U.S. and British soldiers joined to fight invading Japanese troops.
It was Jarvis' first time ever leaving his home on Old Town Neck Drive where he grew up with his parents and seven older siblings.
His duty during the Burma Campaign was to supply soldiers with necessary items like food and water.
Sitting beside his bed draped with an American flag blanket, Jarvis recalled how good it felt to return to the Eastern Shore after the war.
"It was a terrible place to be over there," said Jarvis, who mentioned the constant threat of gunfire and bomb explosions.
Shortly after his service ended, Jarvis landed his first job with the Virginia Department of Highways.
He later retired from the highway department after 44 years.
"I just think that's remarkable. You know, so many people have so many jobs but that was his first and only job," said Jarvis' daughter, Shirley Galloway.
When he first began building, maintaining and repairing local roads, Jarvis was making 55 cents an hour.
He worked during the years of segregation and was forced to ride on the back of the truck instead of in the cab because he was black.
Galloway can still remember her father coming home from work during the winter months with icicles in his mustache.
"The temperature would be down to 18, 20 degrees. You on the back of them trucks going from here to Silver Beach and back," Jarvis recalled.
In the late 1960s, Jarvis was promoted and became the highway department's first black foreman in Northampton
See VET, Page 3A