Fantastic – The Generosity of Strangers Allows 110-Year-Old WW2 Veteran to Remain In His Home

Richard Overton fought battles across the Pacific Ocean.
Richard Overton fought battles across the Pacific Ocean.

Austin, TX – 

Richard Overton, believed to be the oldest living World War Two veteran, will be able to continue to live in the home he built for himself over 60 years ago. The cost of 24-hour care for the 110-year-old former infantryman was becoming prohibitive, so his third cousin, Volma Overton, Jr. set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for his care.

We reported on his story at the start of 2017, and now we are pleased to have learned that the incredible generosity of strangers has so far raised a staggering $89,000, to keep him at home. This represents just over half of what is needed to pay for Richard’s care for a year. The family say that once a year’s worth of money has been raised, the fundraising campaign will stop.

Richard is still surprised at the generosity and assistance from people he doesn’t know.

At the moment, Volma and another friend volunteer their time stopping by the house to ensure Richard is cared for daily. She said there are people from the neighborhood and church who also visit; however, he said it would be wonderful to have a professional with him every day. Richard requires someone there to pick him up in case he falls, Volma explained.

He served in the army infantry during WWII, witnessed the destruction of ships at Pearl Harbour, fought across the Pacific in various campaigns, and watches as other members of the Greatest Generation disappear. He left the service after the war ended.

The family approached Veterans Affairs for assistance, but the agency was restricted to offering a nurse for three hours daily, or having Richard transferred to assisted living, away from his home. The family feel that this would spell the end for Richard – it’s essential to his health that he be able to remain at home. His happiness, his love for humanity and his joyful spirit are dependent on his living in his own house, Volma said.

Martin Wilford, his longtime friend who worked alongside him at the Texas State Capitol since the 1970s, said Richard’s great pleasure is to joke and tell stories with those who visit him on his front porch.

His jokes and stories will have you rolling on the floor with laughter, according to Martin. Richard claims his secret to longevity is smoking cigars and drinking whiskey daily, CNBC reported.

He drinks a shot in the morning to get going and one in the evening to bring on sleep. In between, there are cigars, Volma said.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE