Portland, Or. – A Northeast Portland woman who spent three years as an Army nurse during WWII says her wish for 2017 is to life her life as fully as she can and for as long as she can. Jean Wojnowski will turn 102 on May 14th.
She was a maternity ward nurse in Cleveland, Ohio when Pearl Harbor was bombed. She was mobilized the next month and spent two years at a hospital in Melbourne, Australia and another year in the jungle of New Guinea. She remembers First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited them in Melbourne. She says they treated soldiers there, mostly for malaria and says a Japanese POW was kept there under guard.
When she was stationed in New Guinea, Jean says they slept in tents and one of her colleagues pulled back the sheets one day to find a snake.
About her years in the military, Jean says “I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Looking back on it, it expanded my grasp of our world situation and my part, what I had, my place in it.”
Jean’s secret to longevity? She says “I had a pretty wholesome life and I always believed in doing things, experience yourself, do what you can, but do it in moderation.” The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs says Jean is among the state’s oldest WWII veterans.