A diverse group of volunteers braved the heat Thursday to upgrade the residence of 107-year-old World War II veteran Richard Overton – the country’s oldest living World War II veteran.
The East Austin house has been Overton's home since he built it in 1945, when he returned from war. And though he’s done some upgrades over the years, it was beginning to have some serious issues: broken windows, a failing refrigerator and more.
But then a team of several dozen volunteers came to fix it all.
Josh Mayou, a Home Depot manager and leader of the project, said the project was the third of five in the area being renovated for veterans. Funding was provided by the Home Depot Foundation, and volunteers for the one-day work sessions came from a variety of sources.
“We’re out here partnering with the City of Austin and we got people helping from UT ROTC, other organizations, the fire department, and Home Depot volunteers,” Mayou said.
Volunteers have a long list of projects, Mayou said, so workers hoped to finish it all Thursday. Besides the refrigerator and the windows, the team fixed the bathroom, painted the walls, rebuilt a fence and repaired the porch where Mr. Overton likes to pass his days.
Mr. Overton spent the duration of the war in the Pacific Theater, and he has stories to share as he watches the volunteers work and visits with them when they come to grab a drink or a bite to eat.
“I appreciate it, every bit of it,” he says with a thankful smile. “They’re doing a nice job.”