NewsLocal NewsKent


Mayor, parade of emergency vehicles help celebrate Walker woman's 100th birthday

janna turns 100.JPG
Posted at 2:20 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 14:44:55-05

WALKER, Mich. — A parade of emergency vehicles surprised a woman in Walker Wednesday.

Janna Van Kempen turned 100 years old on Wednesday and the city joined loved ones in recognizing her.

Now a century old, Janna Van Kempen has seen history.

She was born in South Holland in the Netherlands, lived through the Nazi occupation during World War II and traveled by boat to the U.S. in 1949 before eventually ending up in West Michigan.

Van Kempen celebrated her birthday Wednesday bundled up in her driveway alongside her family and the mayor of Walker.

Parade of emergency vehicles for Janna's 100th birthday

With a banner on the front porch and a sign in the yard, strangers said “happy birthday” with a honk and emergency vehicles blared their sirens to celebrate Van Kempen’s 100th birthday.

Van Kempen says she’s very active.

“I can’t sit still!”

She says she spends much of her free time knitting.

“I do knitting all the time,” said Van Kempen. “I’m very thankful that my mind is still working.”

Van Kempen tells FOX 17 she has 36 grandkids and some great-grandkids.

Walker Mayor Gary Carey and former mayor Mark Huizenga had formal proclamations signed and framed for Janna’s birthday.

She tells us she plans to hang them up in her house.