Next month the nation's oldest living World War II combat veteran turns 109. Richard Overton calls East Austin home and he's already receiving some early birthday gifts.
When Mr. Overton returned from war he built his home on Hamilton Avenue. Most days he can be found sitting on his front porch proudly wearing his WWII Veteran baseball hat holding a cigar.
"I just woke up this morning feeling good," said Overton. At 108 years young he's fond of sharing stories and smoking cigars.
"About 12 to 13 a day or something like that it doesn't bother me," explained Overton.
On Wednesday he watched as crews work to replace the roof he built in 1945.
Several vendors and Lon Smith Roofing teamed up to donate a brand new roof to Overton. The retail value is estimated around $14,000.
"I think it's nice. This roof I put on in 1945 and it's been a long time and it's still good but they wanted to give me a new one so I appreciate it," said Overton.
"It makes other people aware that veterans are in this situation where they need assistance and other vendors will come to the table to assist," said Scott Hamilton with Lon Smith Roofing. The company donated the roof as part of its new Roofs for Vets program.
Congressman Roger Williams also stopped by to thank Overton for his service and presented him with an American flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol.
"This is just one small way we can gather and say thank you Richard Overton and the world's greatest generation for keeping America free," said Congressman Williams.
Soon Overton will celebrate another birthday. He's fond of ice cream before bed and whiskey.
"Sometimes I put it in my coffee and if I'm drinking a coke I'll put a little in there," he said.
When you ask him what his secret is?
"Cigars and God. He's the manager and when he says you go you go and when he says you stay, you stay," said Overton.
There are at least three different birthday parties planned for Overton. His actual birthday is May 11th. He says he doesn't need anything for his birthday but he wouldn't turn down any cigars.
If you would like to send a Birthday gift to Mr. Overton you may do so by mailing it to the following address.