World’s Oldest Veteran: “Man Will Kill You, But God Will Keep You Alive”
Our armed forces veterans leave their family and many times everything that they own to risk their life for their country. It’s one of the most selfless things men and women do everyday. Now, the oldest living veteran in the United States is being honored for that duty.
On Friday, Richard Overton, who will turn 111 in May 2017, was honored at the healing garden at the VA Austin Outpatient Clinic in southeast Austin when it was officially named in Overton’s honor. The World War II veteran served faithfully in the US Army Air Force.
Overton says the event is a proud moment for himself as well as the community. “It makes me feel proud of myself, not only me, but makes y’all proud. I’m glad you all take your time out to take up this much time with me,” said Overton.
The love for the veteran didn’t stop at a garden. The Austin City Council approved a resolution to give the street where Overton lives in east Austin, Hamilton Avenue, the honorary name of “Richard Overton Avenue.” Overton built his home on Hamilton in 1945.
If you remember, Overton had a caretaker with him, but when his caretaker started experience aging issues of her own, his family feared he would need to move to an assisted living facility.
That would be a “death sentence,” according to his third cousin, Volma Overton Jr because that house is what he lives for and what he loves.
Richard is now in need of 24-hour home care that the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t provide. So his family started a GoFundMe campaign late last month to cover the cost of in-home care, which is being provided by Senior Helpers.
“Though my cousin is still sharp as a tack at 110-years-old, it’s been getting harder and harder for him to care for himself,” Volma said in a statement. “It eases my mind to know he will have 24/7 care while living in the home he built for himself over 70 years ago.”
Since then over 3,000 people have donated nearly $170,000 towards his cause!
Overton, who was born May 11th in Bastrop County in 1906, served in the Pacific Theater from 1942 to 1945 during World War II, as part of the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion. After the war, he returned to Austin, and he has lived in the same home ever since. He started selling furniture in Austin, TX after discharge, and later worked in the state Treasurer’s Office.
Back in 2015, at 109-years-old, Richard revealed his secret to staying active and remaining in good health: Whiskey and cigars.
“I may drink a little in the evening too with some soda water, but that’s it,” Overton told FOX News. “Whiskey’s a good medicine. It keeps your muscles tender.”
When speaking about his spiritual life, Overton gets serious and says living right is much more simple than people make it out to be.
“Church is just for everybody, but you gotta for one person, and that’s yourself,” Overton says. “It’s good to have a spiritual life, but you gotta live it.”
He also has good financial health habits too. “Everything I want, I pay cash for it. Straight cash.”
Overton says he stayed busy throughout the day by trimming trees and helping with horses, while noting that he never watches television, according to FOX.