World War II veteran and longtime North Bend resident Burt “walking” Mann celebrated his 100th birthday on Thursday, Feb. 7.
A living legend to many, Mann was North Bend’s 2018 Citizen of the Year and recently voted the Most Inspirational Valley Resident in the Snoqualmie Valley Record’s 2022 Best of the Valley contest.
Most mornings, Mann can be spotted walking through North Bend, earning him his nickname. During those walks Mann will often stop at a park bench outside the North Bend Post Office. Known as “Burt’s Bench,” the site was inscribed in his honor by the Snoqualmie Valley Kiwanis, with the plaque calling him “truly an inspiration to us all.”
Mann grew up in Chicago, and was taken in by a butcher at a young age after the death of his parents left him homeless.
In 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. military after hearing news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. During his years of service, he fought in the Philippines, Japan and at Normandy on D-Day – where he was wounded during combat.
Back home, he married and started a family. For 12 years he served as a police officer before buying a restaurant and tavern. He moved to North Bend when he was 69 years old.
Mann has been an active volunteer in the community, including at the Mount Si Senior Center, most notably as its gardener.