WWII Vets find new friendship during pandemic

Posted at 6:29 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 20:42:33-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — A local World War II veteran recently made a new friend who also served our country, and the two shared memories about their service in a very special way.

94-year-old Boyd Holt from Colorado Springs was recently able to make a friend in Al Dearman who lives in Reno, Nevada.

The friendship sparked more than 70 years after World War II ended, and it was thanks to the help of staff at Revel Province, an independent living community in Colorado Springs, and FaceBook Portal, an online video calling service.

The two sat down, and saw each other on a big television in front of them, and had a meaningful conversation.

"It was interesting to note that two members of the service were able to get together after all these years," said Holt. "I was appreciative of the fact someone else was there at the same time, and we were able to have a conversation about what Tokyo looked like while we were there."

Holt served in the U.S. Army in Japan during World War II and was out on the ocean when the bomb dropped over the country. Dearman served in the Air Force during WWII during the occupation of Japan, and was stationed in the same area at the same time.

During their conversation, they shared old photos and talked about war stories and places of interest.

"We were able to spend 15 or 20 minutes just reminiscing," said Holt. "We had so much in common, yet we went our separate ways and lived our separate lives."
The two were able to connect with the help of Holt's friend, Nate Johnson, who is a staff member at Revel Province, the independent living community Holt lives at. Dearman lives at Revel Rancharrach, an independent living community in Nevada.

Johnson is a veteran himself and served in the U.S. Air Force for more than two decades and was next to Holt during the veteran's conversation, which he described as almost like a fairy tale. He explained to News5 why he wanted to connect the two veterans.

"When you serve in the military, especially being a World War II veteran, you just have a unique bond," said Johnson. "It's just something that we have and no matter what, we're always looking out for each other, and we're always there for each other which is so important especially now."

"After they had this conversation, Boyd looked at me and he said that it has been over 70 years since he's been out of the war, and he's never met or talked to anyone that had been there at the same time he was," said Johnson. "So for that connection to happen, I thought was pretty amazing. It really took Boyd too for how powerful that was."

Johnson also mentioned during the pandemic, it's more important than ever to make sure people who live at independent living facilities have interaction with others, which is another reason he was more than happy to set up the conversation.

The two hope to have another conversation in the next couple weeks. If and when the pandemic ends, they're looking into options of meeting each other in person.