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WWII veteran Pressly eager for military celebration

November 8, 2018

During the U.S. Marine Corps 243rd Birthday celebration Saturday at the Man Cave Museum and Car Show in Odessa, the oldest veteran receives the first piece of cake.

The second piece of cake goes to the youngest military member.

Former Odessa High and Odessa College baseball coach J.E. “Coach” Pressly — a World War II veteran from the Marine Corps — typically garners that first piece of cake honors.

“They accuse me of being the oldest everywhere I go,” Pressly said with a laugh. “That’s kind of an ongoing deal.”

Pressly, who is 94 years old, has attended the event for the last several years.

The U.S. Marine Corps Birthday celebration will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1525 E. Seventh St. The cake cutting ceremony begins at 1 p.m. The event includes free food and drinks.

Marilyn Jones, who is a military supporter and helps organize the event, said the celebration is open for all branches of the military — U.S. Marines, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard — and all past and current veterans. First responders and military supporters are also invited.

“We just want to thank all the people that have served,” Jones said. “We want our new recruits to meet the veterans and we want celebrate everyone that has kept America free.”

Jones said the attendees are urged to RSVP by Thursday.

However, she said people are welcome to show up to the event without an RSVP.

“I tell people, if you decide at the last minute that you want to come, you are more than welcome,” Jones said.

Jones said previous attendances have ranged between 50 and 70 people.

The guest of honor this year is Tom Pace, who is a Vietnam veteran and worked for the Ector County Independent School District.

She said weather is the biggest factor that will determine turnout. According to The Weather Channel, the forecast as of Tuesday afternoon for Saturday is a high 56 degrees Fahrenheit with a 10 percent chance of precipitation.

Pressly said over the phone he marked the event on his calendar.

“I’ll be out there to get my first piece of cake,” Pressly said.

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