Two war veterans were recently featured in the news for their ongoing service in their respective communities: one through music, the other through his generosity to sick kids. They were heralded as heroes during their time in the military. Today, they’ve become altruistic civilian champions serving others.

Service Through Music

Garland Williford is a Vietnam War veteran, and though he retired years ago, he continues to serve his community by instead sharing his gift of music. The 75-year-old veteran spends most of his time performing for his fellow seniors, touring around local nursing homes along with his guitar to sing and entertain them.

A man entertains seniors in local nursing homes
(Screenshot from KPXJ21)

“I love it. I like entertaining. I enjoy giving back to the seniors,” Williford shared in an interview with KPXJ21. “I enjoy making them smile and giving them some enjoyment. After a while, you see their feet move, then you’ll see their hands tap. Music is something that they can relate to.”

Williford would start his set with old country music, followed by a variety of pop songs from the 30s to 60s—the kind of tune that most seniors could relate to and that some might even reminisce about the good old times. He would then end his set with gospel music that perfectly concludes his performance.

At the height of the Vietnam War, Williford joined the Navy at age 17. He was deployed at Da Nang in 1967 for a year in special services, and when he was not refueling tanker ships, the young Sailor would entertain troops coming in for R&R in a band.

A young Navy singing during R&R in Vietnam
(Screenshot from KPXJ21)

“They (troops) come in out of the bush and [spend] seven days just doing whatever they want to do. I played in a band called The 17th Flight… and we played China Beach,” Williford recalled.

While he later decided that the Navy life wasn’t for him, Williford professed he was proud of himself for going and doing whatever job he was given during his service.

News Feature Williford
(Screenshot from KPXJ21)

“I’m glad that God kept me safe through that,” he added.