Local WW2 Veteran celebrates 101st birthday!
ELKHART, Ind. -- It’s a milestone less than 1% of the U.S are expected to reach, but a local WW2 Veteran is beating those odds.
Vernon Garman celebrates his 101st birthday this month.
He’s lived most of his life in Elkhart and is one of few left of what’s known as ‘The Greatest Generation’.
I got to spend a couple hours with Vernon and his son Tim, learning more about his life and the legacy he hopes to leave behind.
“How many people can say that their dad hit 101?”
Timothy Garman is thankful to be celebrating 101 years of his dad’s life.
“When he hit 94, 95, I realized the ride wasn’t over with.”
And you don’t make it to such an age without having quite the story to look back on.
“Do you have any regrets in your 101 years?”
“No, I can't believe I have any regrets.”
One of his fondest memories is signing up for the draft before World War 2.
“All it took was just to walk in. They’d almost put their arms around us.”
He served that time in India, before returning home to Elkhart.
The city with a heart would then lead him to his next adventure: love.
“I bought the smallest can there was and paid for it. I asked her ‘what time you say you’re getting off?’ She says ‘5:30’. I said good, I’ll be back to pick you up.”
A trip to the grocery store led to a marriage – two kids – three grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
He and his wife – together 76 years before she passed in 2022 – a month shy of Garman's 100th birthday.
“I was with her when she passed, and I took the last breath with her.”
Garman also spent many years at NIBCO, retiring after decades with the company.
While life has slowed down since then, he still gets around and even lives by himself!
“His favorite thing to do is, about 12 noon time he likes to go out if the weather’s nice, sit in the garage, listen to the radio and watch the cars drive past.”
Listening, watching and hoping someone will stop by and take a little time to get to know their neighbor.
“When people think of Vernon Garman one day, what do you hope you leave behind?”
“He loved the lord. He tried to do right.”
So, if you’re out driving one day and you see an older neighbor sitting by themselves, take 10 minutes to say hello – you never know what you could learn.