Centenarian celebrating milestone birthday says to always be prepared

A WWII veteran in the Longs community celebrated a major milestone: his 100th birthday. (Source: WMBF)
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:38 AM MST|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:39 AM MST
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LONGS, S.C. (WMBF/Gray News) – A WWII veteran in South Carolina celebrated a major milestone this weekend: his 100th birthday.

Private First Class Elmore Archie Bellamy was born on Sept. 25, 1923, and has spent his years helping and teaching the younger generation.

“He helped me a lot. Him and my dad were best friends,” said friend JB Byrant. “Being a Boy Scout under his leadership, well, the one thing he said was always be prepared.”

That’s the motto Bellamy lived by while he was a Boy Scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop #114 for over 25 years.

Troop members like Bryant said it was some of the little things that made a big difference years later.

“He taught us how to set up tents, showed us how to make fires, how to set your pan up on the rocks and cook you a little bit of food,” Bryant said. “We didn’t have nothing but bologna, hot dogs or something, but it was good.”

Bellamy took pride in serving his country, community and beloved church family at Chesterfield Missionary Baptist Church.

During his birthday celebration, those who knew him best said they were appreciative of his contributions throughout their life.

“Deacon Bellamy had so much to say. He had so much to tell us. He had so much wisdom that he could share with us that would help improve their life if they would just listen,” said Bellamy’s cousin, Brenda Bankhead.

Looking back, it’s something Bankhead said she knew all too well.

“He notarized documents for me to go in the Army because I was only 18,” she said. “He signed for me. He notarized my parents signing for me to go in the military. That’s the best thing that ever could have happened.”

Other people in the community shared similar sentiments about his character.

“He’s an amazing man, did a lot of amazing things,” said Bishop JR Matthews of Chesterfield Missionary Baptist Church. “He sat on many boards, and he made things better as best he could here in the community, across the county, and state.”

When asked what advice Bellamy could give future generations, two things come to mind.

The first he said was, “If you know something good, pass it along to your children, and God will bless you.”

The second thing he said was, “You do your best, as long as it’s good, and one day it will show up one way or the other.”