Super Senior: Jim Hasson - Part 2

Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 4:19 PM EDT
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CAVENDISH, Vt. (WCAX) - For the last year, Jim Hasson hasn’t let anyone from the outside -- inside.

Call it a pandemic prohibition, Hasson has let no one in his house except immediate family for fear of contacting the coronavirus. “I’ve been more or less cabin bound for what, a year now,” he said. “Appreciate having some company.”

His home is in the backwoods of Cavendish. Now, fully inoculated, he’s ready to talk about the struggles of the last year. “I think if had to generalize, I would say it was lonely, I was just out of circulation, I’m not mixing with people,” he said. “People would say, ‘How do you feel?’ I‘d say, ‘I feel the same as yesterday and the day before and the day before that.’ ...Tomorrow didn’t look any better than today, that’s the hopelessness of it.”

Hasson is not alone. The isolation hit older Vermonters particularly hard. He calls it an empty and unproductive year. This isn’t the first time we’ve visited Jim. His first Super Senior profile came three years ago.

Hasson joined the Navy at 17 and served as a Seabee on a battalion building roads and runways in the Pacific during the war. Then, 25 years later he was called up in the Navy reserves and went off to Vietnam. He came home again from a conflict, but stayed a Seabee.

Since then, the long-time plumber has lost his wife Ann. His daughter and son do check up on their dad. With no TV or internet, Hasson spends his time with a good book. But it’s no replacement for being out in the community.

Every year, Jim normally visits the Cavendish Town Elementary School to talk to the kids about his service to the country. So when the community found out that Hasson’s 95 birthday was coming up, they decided to throw him a parade in his honor.

“We had about 90 to 100 cars in the parade,” said Jennifer Harper, a teacher at the school who helped plan the event held earlier this month. “It celebrated Jim and everything he’s given to our country and to our state and our community. It also felt so good to be together as a community.”

“It was pretty obvious that something big was happening. These fire trucks were blowing their horns, sirens going and bells ringing and lights blinking,” Hasson said. “It was just overwhelming really.”

But it didn’t end there. The students made him special cards. “Just thank you, thank you, thank you. It made me very happy,” he said.

It’s been a year Hasson would like to forget, but with the help of the community, there’s a feeling of freedom again. “They’re very special,” he said.

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