By TIM CLEVELAND
It’s not very often a person reaches 100-years-old. For the staff of Briarfield Manor, located at 461 S Canfield Niles Road, they had two residents achieve that milestone.
On Feb. 24, Briarfield Manor had a birthday celebration for Helen Lucas, who turned 100 on Feb. 24, and Joseph McKinna, who will reach the century mark March 17.
“They’re 100. Both of them turn 100 so we decided to do a combined birthday party for them,” said Briarfield Manor Activities Director Kathy Cracraft. “It’s an achievement; it’s a milestone for both of them and we want to show them how much we care for them. We thought this would be the way to do it.”
The party had live music and a birthday cake for the approximately 50 residents who attended.
Helen Lucas (formerly Karaffa) was born in Monongahela County, Pa., and she moved to Ravenna, where she grew up. She married Gusty Lucas in 1942 and they subsequently moved to the west side of Youngstown, where she lived from 1950 until moving into Briarfield Manor in 2009.
She has two children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
“At the rate she’s going, we’ll probably see 200,” said her youngest son Paul Lucas. “It’s great; it’s a real milestone.”
Joseph McKinna served in the air force from 1943-45 as a master sergeant and was the crew chief servicing B-25s in North Africa, Sicily and Italy.
“I kept them flying so they could keep on their missions and bomb the Germans,” he said.
McKinna was stationed at Pompeii Airfield near Terzigno, Italy, in March 1944 as Mount Vesuvius erupted. Ash from the blast damaged 78-88 B-25 bombers of the air force’s 340th Bombardment Group.
He is a lifelong bachelor with no children, but does have six nieces and nephews.
McKinna said he was very pleased with the turnout of the party.
“I think it’s wonderful,” he said. “All the people that showed up like this. Unbelievable. I think they’re wonderful people.”