Kentucky’s oldest-known WWII veteran celebrates birthday

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 4:18 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2023 at 6:58 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Oakley Hacker served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and on Monday, he turned 107 years old.

Friends and family gathered at the Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center to celebrate.

“I feel good about it, nothing hurts me ever,” Hacker said.

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Hacker was honored by Senate President Robert Stivers, who said it is great to honor someone who put his life on the line.

“No, thank you for all you’ve done and your service Mr. Hacker,” he said. “So, it was a little time consuming but well worth the time. Working with the Veterans Center, working with the state veteran affairs department, working with his family and getting all of this arranged about his history and his time in the military.”

He said it is important to remember a part of history and hearing all of the stories from Hacker puts it all in perspective.

“He was talking about the bank collapse in the Great Depression. You don’t know people that experienced that, young people, even people of my age get up to visit with the Oakley Hacker’s of the world,” he explained.

Hacker said he is taking things one step at a time.

“No plans at all, just take them as they come,” he said.

While celebrating with cake and ice cream, he said he does not have a secret to living long.

“I don’t know, if there’s a secret to it or not, I’m just happy to be here,” he explained.