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Grand marshal’s big day: Leading Conn. parade, turning 105

Jean Wells, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve in World War II was selected to lead the parade.
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WESTPORT, Conn. — It’s an extra grand day for the grand marshal of Westport’s Memorial Day parade: It's her 105th birthday.

Jean Wells, who served in the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve in World War II, said she’s “deeply grateful” to be selected to lead Monday’s parade in the Connecticut community she’s called home since grade school.

William Vornkahl, the president of the Westport Veterans Council, told Hearst Connecticut Media that choosing Wells fit with this year’s theme of Honoring Women Veterans.

RELATED: Yes, Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day

Wells was born in Indiana on May 30, 1917, as World War I was raging in Europe, and moved to Westport in 1926. She enlisted in the Women’s Reserve in 1943 and served at the U.S. Naval Special Hospital in Palm Beach, Florida.

She’s volunteered in the community for decades, visiting with veterans and bringing meals to the needy. She’s also volunteered with the Red Cross and Norwalk Hospital.

“Jean is a bouncing ball,” Vornkahl said.

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