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WWII vet celebrates100th birthday

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns Lloyd ‘Dabney’ Kisner blows out the candles on his 100th birthday cake, assisted by his niece, Becky Benton.

ELKINS — To the tune of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” an area World War II veteran was greeted by family and friends to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Lloyd “Dabney” Kisner, originally from the town of Fank in Pocahontas County, celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday. His family and friends traveled from near and far to gather and spend time with Kisner Sunday afternoon during his birthday celebration at Colonial Place.

During the party, Kisner was presented with gifts — including hand-made quilts — and a special B-26 commemorative coin.

In a letter about the commemorative coin, Roy Bozych, historian for the 323rd Bomb Group, wrote, “To honor you on your very special day and thank you for your service to our country, the 323rd Bomb Group, its veterans and family members would like (to) take this occasion to award you with the 323rd BG commemorative challenge coin. … It is a rich history to which you contributed with your WWII participation and heroic accounts, Dabney.”

On display during Kisner’s birthday celebration were dozens of photographs taken throughout his 100 years — including working in his family restaurant and motel, located in Pocahontas County; moments shared with his wife Irene “Reeney” Jones Kisner; and memories of experiences while hunting and fishing.

Kisner first enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in 1935, following his graduation from Greenbank High School. Kisner served as first/second lieutenant and bombardier/navigator, completing more than 50 missions.

While serving his country during World War II, Kisner recalls bailing out from his plane on two occasions.

After bailing out of a plane during a mission in Germany, or several days, Kisner hid in an abandoned mine where a man and a young boy fed him.

He said he would use a lighter inside the dark mine to make sure he could see every so often, and after several days of being in the mine, he tried to find his way out but was unable to do so.

Kisner explained he was eventually taken in by Belgians who helped to hide him from German soldiers. Over the span of several months, he and another American soldier were kept hidden by families in the area for their safety.

Kisner, along with his wife, Irene “Reeney” Jones Kisner, owned and operated the Pocahontas Restaurant and Motel near Durbin for 40 years.