At 95, WWII vet still finds ways to serve country, fellow citizens

By Solomon Crenshaw Jr.

For the Birmingham Times

Wilsonville’s Frances Phelps is shown with a photo of herself from her days as a World War II aviation machinist mate first class in the U.S. Navy. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr./For The Birmingham Times).

Frances Phelps, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, is in good health, needing only her acid reflux medication.

“The normal person at this age has high blood pressure, high sugar, all those things,” she said. “I don’t have those.”

The Wilsonville resident and former airplane mechanic still finds ways to serve her country and fellow citizens through her work at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinic. Recently, she was onsite to help with the Teacher Ambassador Program, which offers lessons and resources for K-12 educators. The workshops are designed to forge partnerships with schools by providing a glimpse into the lives of American servicemen and servicewomen, their contributions to the nation’s history, and the role VA plays in the lives of veterans.

Phelps assists her fellow vets in other ways, too. She continues to drive her 2000 Lincoln Town Car and has taken veterans to medical appointments. As for her own medical care, she said has always been happy with the treatment she received at the VA Women’s Health Clinic.

“The last time I went, … they asked me what I was there for,” Phelps said. “I said I was there for the usual thing, all the women’s tests. They said, ‘Honey, you’re so old, you’ve graduated.’”