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Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams celebrates 98th birthday among friends in Huntington

Oct 07 2021
Natalie Wadas | WOWK TV

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Local legend and last living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II Hershel “Woody” Williams is being celebrated in Huntington Wednesday.

“Who would expect something like this?” asked Williams with a laugh.

Hershel “Woody” Williams is celebrating his 98th birthday—which he passed on October 2nd—in Huntington among friends.

Don’t close the gate at 98!” Williams says.

The birthday bash—organized by friends at Bombshells, Burgers, & BBQ— was much appreciated by the man of the hour.

“By the tears in my eyes you can see that it is a very emotional experience, and deeply, deeply appreciated,” Williams says.

“Woody being the last living World War II Medal of Honor recipient is just huge, and he’s right here in our community. So, it’s a no-brainer to honor him!” says Jerry Beckett, who helped organize the festivities for Woody.

One person even drove with a tribute billboard for the occasion.

“Woody we love your smile, we cherish your perseverance and guile, we are inspired by your style, keep it going for a good long while!” says Patrick O’Reilly, as he quotes a poem he wrote on display on the mobile unit he created.

Those close to Woody say it’s an honor to be able to celebrate this milestone with him.

“He’s just one-of-a-kind, and it’s an honor to be here with him!” says John Roberts, co-captain of the Marine Corps League Honor Guard.

“To think that he’s 98 years old and he is so vital yet! And he just goes places and he does things, and I hope that when I’m 98 I can do the same!” says Brenda Chapman, a longtime friend of Woody’s, with a laugh.

And when asked what he credits his longevity to:

“I’m very fortunate to have the health that I do and able to do what I do; I give God the credit,” Williams says.

In the middle of the celebration, Woody and those in attendance also stood at attention outside of the restaurant and saluted the procession for Norma Ward, a local EMT who passed away last week due to COVID-19.

Woody says he’s overcome by the show of respect and honor at his birthday celebration.

From all of us here at 13 News: Happy 98th birthday, Woody Williams!