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GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) – On April 8, Annie May Pierce of Greeley will celebrate her 100th birthday. And she can’t believe it.

“I didn’t ever expect to live this long,” Pierce told FOX31.

It’s just another milestone in a life filled with unforgettable moments — starting with her service during World War II at a time most women weren’t donning a uniform.

She was part of the Navy’s WAVES program, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. The women served stateside, filling the void for men who were sent to war.

“Well, the WAVES were organized in this country to relieve men to go overseas,” she said.

She had just earned a bachelor’s degree in medical lab technology at the University of Colorado. And so, after boot camp, she worked in medical labs at military bases around the country.

Her first assignment was at a hospital in New York, where she met the man who would soon become her husband. They had only known each other for six weeks when they got engaged.

“He hawked his watch and bought an engagement ring, and we got married about four months later,” Pierce said.

Soon enough, the war was over and the newlyweds were headed to Colorado. They opened a medical lab in Greeley and owned it for 36 years, doing the same kind of work they learned during World War II. They were married for 74 years before Lowel Pierce’s death in 2019 at age 97.

“Everyone wanted to help in some way,” Pierce said when asked about her military service.

“I would say she is the most influential person in my life,” her son, Lowel, told FOX31.

Hero of the Month

In honor of her birthday and her lifetime of service, FOX31 has named Annie May Pierce our Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month. Along with a plaque, she receives a $500 Visa gift card from our sponsors at Ford and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

To nominate a veteran or active-duty service member for our Hero of the Month honors, visit the nomination page.