Oldest living WWII vet celebrates 109th birthday

(KTBC) - Mighty fine at 109. That is how the oldest living World War II veteran in the U.S. said he feels celebrating his 109th birthday. 

Richard Overton was born May 11, 1906 in Bastrop County. Almost 109 years later he can usually be found on his porch in East Austin smoking a cigar, but Sunday, Overton celebrated a very full life with friends and family at his neighbor's home.

"This a long trip and it ain't through yet," Overton said.  

The Army veteran served in the South Pacific from 1942 to 1945 during World War II. 

"Shot at many times, but I didn't get a scratch," Overton said about his time overseas.  

When Overton returned from the war, he built a house in East Austin where he has lived ever since. 

Sunday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler told Overton, "You are one of the treasures that we have in this city."  

Overton's neighbor Helen Elliott said she loves to hear about Overton's experience in the war. 

"He's just the coolest neighbor on the planet. He's so much fun and always has the best stories and he always has a birthday party in his front yard and a couple months ago he said, 'When you going to throw a party in your yard for me?'" said Elliott. 

Elliott took the opportunity and ran with it. She had the event catered by Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries and Shakes and reached out to some local and national celebrities.

"I thought she was mostly joking. I didn't think all this would be here. If I knew all this, I'd have jumped twice. I'd say, 'Yeah, let's have it,'" said Overton. 

Even President Barack Obama sent a letter wishing Overton a "Happy 109th." 

 "Everywhere I go somebody knows me, but I don't know them, but everybody knows me," said Overton.  

 "I feel honored. I feel really honored. What he's done for this country, for our community, I feel really honored and special to be here," said Elliott.  

While he credits god as the reason he has made it through so many years, Overton's got a few tricks of his own. 

"Whiskey and cigars and never stop moving," Elliott said.  

 "To think I'd be older than every soldier in the Union? You believe that? I didn't ever think that," said Overton.  

This story was originally written on our sister station's site, MyFOXAustin.com
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