Volunteers repair home of country’s oldest WWII vet - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Volunteers repair home of country’s oldest WWII vet

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An East Austin man who is believed to be the oldest World War II veteran in the country got help in a big way Thursday.

A small army in orange from the Home Depot and the University of Texas worked to repair and update Richard Overton's home. 

Overton is 107-years-old and has lived in his house since 1945. He paid $4,000 for it which is exactly how much was spent on repairs.

"I need help, but I didn't think I'd get this much," Overton said sitting outside his house with a cigar in his hand. He smokes around 12 a day. He doesn't inhale the smoke because as he says that would be bad for his lungs.

"I appreciate what they are doing," he said. "They working hard in there. Hope they get it done between now and Christmas," chuckled Overton. Humor, an asprin a day and a splash of whiskey in his coffee keeps him young at heart.

"I do my best myself," explained Overton who still drives to church on Sundays and takes care of some household chores. While he stays active things like painting and replacing windows he can't do or afford.

"He requested to fix the fence, replace broken glass and paint and also put a new cover on his patio," explained Josh Mayou with Home Depot. The Home Depot Foundation organized the one day makeover. Overton got new ceiling fans and a brand new refrigerator too.

"For the sacrifices they gave for our country for us to have our freedom it really feels good," Mayou said about volunteering.

Allen Bergeron with the City of Austin's Veterans Affairs Department connected Overton and Mayou.

"It's a huge impact for him and shows the community remembers him and his service and gives him more reason to be inspired," Bergeron said.

And inspire future soldiers like UT ROTC Cadet Eric Flores who got to meet Overton and received his advice. 

"He said lead from the front. Be confident and not to give up no matter what the situation may be," Flores said.

Overton will enjoy the work and hold dear the new friends he has made. "I try to make friends with everybody I meet," Overton said.

As he approaches his 108th birthday he knows there's no better place than home.

"I think I'll live here until I die, I got no where else to go," Overton laughingly said.

It's been a busy year for Overton. He took his first trip to Washington, D.C. with Honor Flight Austin and hopes to go back soon. Governor Rick Perry stopped by his house on Memorial Day and hand delivered a bottle of whiskey and some cigars. Overton says he's saving that bottle.

LINKS:

www.honorflightaustin.org

http://www.homedepotfoundation.org/

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