Beloved Compton resident Joe Harris, a remarkable centenarian who recently reached the impressive age of 107, was honored with a joyous celebration.
“The party was wonderful for the block. We have not seen our family or he has not seen his nieces and nephews in four years due to the pandemic of course, and today was a very enjoyable wonderful day,” expressed Tanya Pittman, Harris’s daughter.
Surrounded by loved ones, Harris enjoyed cake, champagne, and the warmth of family and friends.
Harris is highly respected for his military service, having served his country with distinction. He was a member of the Buffalo Soldiers and later joined the pioneering triple nickel paratrooper unit, the first African American paratroop unit in the US Army.
“As part of a special assignment by President Roosevelt, they were tasked with extinguishing fires intentionally set by the Japanese along the Oregon coast. Their exceptional bravery was evident as they were dropped directly into the flames from airplanes,” shared friend and neighbor Omar Bradley.
During World War II, Harris successfully completed an impressive 72 parachute jumps.
Having resided in Compton for over six decades, Harris has become a surrogate father figure for many, with his disciplined nature, acquired during his military service, positively impacting the entire community.
“He was just a surrogate father for everybody and his discipline that he acquired in his service spread throughout the community, not just this part,” remarked Bradley.
For Harris’s loved ones and friends, celebrating his extraordinary 107th birthday was a heartfelt gesture of gratitude and admiration for the guardian of the neighborhood, who selflessly watches over everyone.