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.

Aside from his gift of music, Williford is also a generous man who delivers Meals On Wheels to seniors. And during the holidays, he would dress up as Santa to put a smile on children’s faces.

Service Through Generosity

94 years strong and still serving, Carl Hall is thrilled to man his post at Shriners Children’s Hospital in St. Louis as a Shriner volunteer. He gives out stuffed animals and toys to kids admitted, hoping to plaster a smile on their faces or uplift their spirits amid whatever medical struggle they’re going through.

Carl Hall
(Screenshot from NBC11 News)

“It’s really helpful to your physical and mental health because you’re helping kids get better,” Hall explained in an interview. “I’ve seen kids come in here that couldn’t even walk or do anything. When they leave, they’re like a regular kid. It’s just amazing.”

Everybody in the hospital also expressed love and admiration for the WWII veteran. One nurse described, “Carl treats us all like we’re a part of his family.”

Besides giving gifts and spreading happiness in the hospital, Hall also extended his generosity to several church groups and community organizations over the years and even raised tens of thousands of monetary donations for the facility.

A generous man talking to patients
(Screenshot from NBC11 News)

“People give me money to bring in, and I bring it in,” the WWII veteran said. “I’ve seen some, what I saw as babies, coming in now with their babies. That gives you a good feeling because you know that somebody is here to help.”

Hall served during the Second World War, then toured Europe afterward, went to the South Pole, and participated in the Berlin Airlift. Moreover, he was “in Iran when they still had a king.” He had many adventures throughout his military career before retiring in 1990. But the urge for service was still in him, hence the volunteering at the hospital

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Man giving gifts
(Screenshot from NBC11 News).

When asked how long he plans to “continue manning his post at the hospital,” Hall said he doesn’t know how long, but “as long as God helps me, I’ll do it.”

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Williford and Hall are just two of the hundreds of more veterans who remained serving the people beyond their military life, and all should be recognized and applauded.

Earlier this month, a 96-year-old veteran Lewis Harrison was featured in the news for his selfless community service even after retirement.

Fresh out from high school, the young Harrison was drafted in 1950 and deployed overseas, fighting in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, before being shipped to Germany to serve with the engineers for about 19 months.

Lewis Harrison
(Screenshot from WTVM News)

“I was in Germany about 19 months because we had an occupational army over there. The war was over. The country was flattened. I served with the engineers. We built roads and repaired apartment buildings under the Marsha plan. I served there and when my time was up, I came back to the states,” Harrison recalled.

Today, the Army veteran continued to serve his community by supporting local churches and students in his hometown, Edison, Georgia.

God Bless these men!