On Tuesday evening, locals from a neighborhood in Longview got together to pay tribute to a man they call a “patriot” on the occasion of his 102nd birthday.
A birthday party for Charley Clayton was held at a house on Marguerite Drive, where guests were treated to a variety of treats, including cake, burgers, and more.
There were members of the Longview Police Department and the Longview Fire Department among the guests, in addition to residents of the area.
According to Clayton’s daughter, Linda Haynie, the annual celebration, which serves as both a birthday party and an event similar to National Night Out, was started by Jack and Brenda Lenier not long after Clayton’s wife passed away almost five years ago. The event is a combination birthday party and event similar to National Night Out.
According to what Haynie had to say, things “started off just as a personal little birthday celebration.” “When my mother died, they knew he was here by himself, and the neighborhood would try to get together and just throw a small birthday party for him and just come in the house and just be very low key,” she explained. “When my mother died, they knew he was here by himself.”
National Night Out events are held every year in the Marguerite Drive neighborhood by Brenda Lenier, who serves as the block captain for the area. According to Haynie, because the event was going to take place in October close to the time of Clayton’s birthday, the Leniers decided to combine the two events into a single celebration and encourage law enforcement to take part in it.
She stated that in the year 2020, when Clayton reached 100, U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert attended the party in honor of Clayton’s birthday and gave him with a plaque acknowledging his milestone birthday.
Haynie expressed that it was a beautiful experience to be able to celebrate another birthday with her father, and she went on to say that the support from the community was tremendous.
Clayton has expressed the belief that he does not merit all of the praise that has been heaped upon him.
As he glanced around the room at everyone who was there on Tuesday, he stated, “I think it’s the greatest thing in the world to be honored with the people together with me… the people say things that I never heard before.” “I had no idea they were concerned about me.”
Clayton’s birthday is October 25th, 1920, and he enlisted in the military in August of 1942. The majority of his training took place in the Mojave Desert, which he visited on his way to and from Salt Lake City, Utah. Additionally, he trained at Pendleton Field, which is located in Oregon, and in Lansing, which is located in Michigan.
During his leave in April of 1943, he tied the knot with the woman who would become his wife, Arva. According to Clayton’s daughter, her father spent the majority of his life in the Mediterranean, serving as a medium maintenance specialist for the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces. Clayton served in this capacity during the war.
In December of 1945, Clayton made his way back to the United States, and a week later, he was given an honorable discharge. He was awarded a number of medals, such as one for good conduct, a victory medal for World War II, a pin for sharpshooting, and an honorable service button for his lapel button.
“I’ve been a farmer; I’ve been an oil field worker … Clayton stated, “I’m a welder, an electrician, and a mechanic, and I did all of those things.” When I first joined the military, they would ask me about this or that, and I would always respond by saying, “Yeah, I can do that.”
Haynie stated that all that the man had ever done in his life was serve his country as a patriot. Being a soldier during World War II has had a profound impact on his entire life.
“I’m old enough that I never know when my time is ‘gonna be gone, but I’ll stay as long as God tells me to stay,” Clayton said.