Skip to content

In the News

Medal of Honor recipient celebrates 97th birthday

Oct 2 2020
Natalie Wadas | WOWKTV

BARBOURSVILLE, WV (WOWK) — It’s not every day you hear of someone reaching 97 years old. It’s even rarer for that someone to be flying across the country, meeting with the president, and attending ceremonies in their honor all year long.

Of course, this is exactly what Medal of Honor recipient—and living legend— Hershel “Woody” Williams has been up to throughout the past year.

Woody Williams was in high spirits this afternoon in Barboursville, after attending a monument dedication ceremony in Charleston, West Virginia.

When asked how he’s managed to stay as happy and healthy as he is today, Williams laughed and pointed skyward:

I don’t have the answer, He does!

For a man rounding out his nineties, Hershel “Woody” Williams seems to have the stamina of a man half his age. This year alone, he’s attended countless events.

Well, I’ve had so many functions, it’s difficult to remember them all!

From Norfolk, Virginia, in March to christen a U.S. Navy ship bearing his name, to dedications in West Virginia and Kentucky of monuments, highways, and bridges for fallen servicemen and women, and even meeting the president, this West Virginia native and World War II Medal of Honor recipient has been leaving his mark everywhere—and on everyone—he meets.

This morning, speaking to the crew of the ship that happens to bear my name and to be able to see those individuals and they could see me, all that distance, and we could talk back and forth. It’s almost a miracle.

As a nonagenarian—or, someone in their nineties—Woody’s seen a lot of changes in his life, but he says his favorite memories are those when he was with his family.

There were 11 in my family. I was the last one. So, we had to work together. We had to support each other. We had to love each other.

When asked what he attributes his longevity and zest for life to, his answer was simply this:

Drink vinegar and honey every morning.

Woody says he’s planning on living to 100, and on his 100th birthday, he says he’s going to ride a horse again—something he hasn’t done in years.

To the local hero who inspires the best in those he meets, Happy Birthday Woody Williams!