Texas Army ROTC
Texas Army ROTC

Texas Army Volunteers to Help the Oldest Living World War II Vet

Mon, October 7, 2013
Cadets working in front of home
Cadets working in front of home

By Megan Wenning

Austin, Texas- On October 3, 2013 Cadets from the University of Texas at Austin Reserved Officer Training Corp program volunteered their time to help refurbish the home of Mr. Richard Overton, 107, who served in the South Pacific Theater between 1942-1945. This project was completely lead and funded by The Home Depot Foundation. There were over 70 Cadets ranging from first year to fourth year Cadets who dedicated a variety of hours to refurbishing Mr. Overton’s home.

Volunteers worked tirelessly to repaint the inside walls, rebuild the side fence, re-plot plants, replace windows, install a brand new refrigerator, fix the bathroom, and to rebuild his porch. We are proud of our Cadets as they worked together as a cohesive unit to show their support and appreciation for Mr. Overton.

For many Cadets, this was their first time ever meeting and/or speaking with a veteran. Senior cadet Travis Strahan states that, “ Having the opportunity to do something like that again whilst helping out one of America's heroes was truly an awesome experience. From an individual standpoint though, being around and speaking with a man who has experienced more than I could possibly hope to experience in my life was a surreal experience”.

Cadets described Mr. Overton as a dynamic figure to speak to during the refurbishing process. During their breaks they would wander over to speak to Mr. Overton. Cadets found him delightful, and said that he cracked jokes every chance he could get. Cadet Aiden Dietz described his volunteer experience by saying, “This was truly one of the grandest opportunities that someone could be honored with. I am humbled by the fact that I was able to witness history, and spend priceless time with a true American hero who is still fighting strong today at 107 years old”. Mr. Overton told Cadets that even though he was 107 year old, he still smokes a cigar at least once a day, and makes sure that he adds a little bit of whiskey to his coffee every morning. Texas Army ROTC is looking forward to participating in future projects such as these!

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