At the ripe old age of 112, America’s oldest living military veteran is expected to be released on Wednesday after he was hospitalized last week in Austin, Texas, his family said.
Richard Overton, who served in the Army during World War II, has battled pneumonia twice in recent years, Fox 7 Austin reported.
He served in the South Pacific, including in Guam and Iwo Jima.
“He needs prayers,” Volma Overton, Richard’s third cousin, told the Dallas Morning News. Many news outlets have reported on his latest health battle.
“He needs everybody’s prayers.”
He is staying at St. David’s Medical Center, Austin’s KXAN-TV reported and Fox News also noted.
Overton served in the Army for three years during World War II, Fox 7 reported.
He lives in a home in Austin that he built himself 72 years ago, Waco’s KWTX-TV reported.
He turned 112 this past May.
Overton volunteered for service in 1942 and became a member of the army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion. It was an all-black unit that served on various islands in the Pacific, as ABC13 reported.
He was honored in 2013 by then-President Barack Obama during a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Overton’s favorite pastime is not something most medical professionals would ever recommend to their patients.
He smokes 12 daily cigars — and does so on his front porch, a place his friends call his “stage,” the Morning News reported.
Overton also enjoys whiskey and coke.
And he wakes up with multiple cups of coffee, the same publication noted.
His secret to longevity?
“Just keep living, don’t die.”
Richard Overton, who is 112 years old and is the both the country's oldest World War II veteran and oldest living man, has been hospitalized with pneumonia for the second time this year. https://t.co/FlHq5fWRJ5
— Stars and Stripes (@starsandstripes) December 18, 2018
Please pray for Richard Overton. A true hero, a national treasure, and a truly decent man. https://t.co/bvCcW84YB3
— Michael Q Sullivan (@MQSullivan) December 17, 2018
That’s what he told comedian Steve Harvey over a decade ago, according to the Morning News.
Last year, a fundraising effort assisted Overton with in-home care, as KVUE-TV in Austin reported and USA Today also noted.
The Overton family raised more than $200,000 through a GoFundMe account to cover the costs of in-home care for him.
Home Depot, Meals on Wheels and Austin Energy also teamed up to help renovate his home.
The groups fixed the wiring and plumbing to bring it up to code — and added heating and air conditioning as well.
When he turned 111 last year, he celebrated with a huge block party.
In late June of this year, Overton and his family discovered that the veteran had become a victim of identity theft — and that thieves had drained his personal bank account, as CNN reported at the time.
His cousin, Volma Overton Jr., discovered the fraudulent activity when she accessed his Social Security and bank account numbers.
“He’s a quite visible and well-known person, so if it can happen to him it can happen to anyone,” Volma Overton told the news outlet.
The cousin did not disclose the amount that had been stolen from the bank account, but said it was “considerable” and that the account had been depleted for “a couple of months.”
“We don’t know who did it,” he also told CNN.
“It’s a shock, it hurts, it hurts tremendously.”
The cousin discovered the theft when he went to make a deposit for Richard Overton and checked the balance.