Austinite Richard Overton, 'Nation's Oldest Veteran' needs help
110 years is a long time. East Austin's Richard Overton has seen it all. During World War II he spent 3 years in the Army...stopping in Hawaii before serving in the South Pacific.
Since becoming the "Oldest living veteran" several years ago, he's been busy. Former Governor Rick Perry visited him on his porch and he received high honors from President Obama in Washington DC.
And at 110 -- he's still doing just fine. Smoking cigars…
"I smoke about 12 a day. Maybe more than that, less than that...I 'aint got nothing else to do," Overton joked.
And drinking whiskey.
"I don't drink it, I just put a little in my coffee. I put a little with my water sometimes and drink it but it's good," he says.
But the time has come for Overton to have 24/7 care. And he doesn't want to go to a nursing home or assisted living. He's lived in the same house since 1945.
His third cousin Volma Overton Jr. points out, Overton really is doing just fine.
"His health is so unique it causes problems. And the problem is as far as getting him care. Now he's not disabled, he's not homebound but he needs someone to just be with him and make sure he's alright," Overton Jr. said.
Volma says the VA is doing all they can do.
"The VA could have somebody come by here 3 hours a day just to check on him but no 24/7," he said.
The Overton family started a GoFundMe account this week with a $50,000 goal. It's quickly reaching that and may go beyond.
"It would break his heart and everybody else's heart for him to have to leave home. So with the love that everybody is giving him on GoFundMe, looks like Richard is going to be here from now on and that...makes me glad. I'm happy. I'm really happy," he said.
Overton is thankful for those who have donated from all over the world.
"I'd like to say...thank them, appreciate every dime they give me. I love it," Overton said.
As of Thursday afternoon the GoFundMe has raised more than $36,000. Remember it was just created on Tuesday.
Volma Overton says if a home health agency ends up donating their services or if they end up with more money than they need, they'll have to check with Mr. Overton but he says most likely he'd like to give it to the veterans here in Austin.