How a WWII nurse is giving back to her fellow veterans

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:

BOSTON - For Phyllis Gallant, every day is Veterans Day.  

She is grateful for those who have served and thankful she was able to serve as well.

Now 96 years old, Gallant was in her early twenties, and just out of nursing school, when World War II began. 

“I ended up when the war came on, I said, ‘I’m going;’ so I went. I thought of what was happening in other parts of the world and I just said, I've got to help out somehow,” Gallant explained. 

At the time, women were not allowed to serve overseas, so she was stationed at the Naval hospital in Virginia. She said it was difficult seeing the injuries and hearing what was going on overseas. 

“In a way, it was; but then you felt you just did what you had to do. You didn't think about what was happening. You just did what you had to do,” she said. 

Recently, Gallant had a chance to fly to Washington, D.C. through Honor Flight New England, a non-profit that takes veterans to see the monument.

MORE: 7 free or cheap ways to celebrate Veterans Day

Founder Joe Byron says for him it is incredibly fulfilling. 

“It's a true blessing every second of every day that we can do something for them and even be with them or even shake their hand and say thank you,” he said. 

Gallant attended a luncheon Friday to help raise money for Honor Flight New England. She said it was incredibly special to be there with fellow veterans. 

We asked her what it means when someone thanks her for her service. 

“I feel a little bit – I want to crawl into a hole when they thank me for my service. I don’t feel like I had done that much,” she said. I helped some, but I feel as though I could have done more.”

MORE: Local college professor launches website for veterans to share their stories

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