VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A 95-year-old World War II veteran who pounds the pavement running across the country is now being honored by Valdosta first responders.
The Navy veteran runs to raise money to bring the last remaining Landing Ship Tank back to Normandy.
Ernie Andrus said it’s been his dream after having lived and worked on one of the ships 75 years ago.
He said that his journey continues as he makes his second trip, hoping to return back to the other side of the country before he turns 100.
First responders and community members came together to celebrate the veteran on a five year journey across the country.
“To show them that we still care and remember their sacrifice," said John Herpin, an organizer with Valdosta Fire Department.
A sacrifice Andrus said he didn’t expect to get this much credit for.
The veteran said this community is doing more for him than he ever expected.
“Because of my age, people were taking notice and I didn’t realize that being a WWII veteran was going to mean that much," said Andrus.
But Andrus said he’s thankful for the love and appreciation, among other things, he can only get here in the Peach State.
“I always tell everybody, especially their food. That’s the best food I find anywhere is in the state of Georgia,” said Andrus.
Herpin said organzing the event is the least they could do for such an honorable man.
“Very wise man at 95-years-old and he’s very sharp and he’s full of stories,” said Herpin.
Stories and wisdom Andrus was more than happy to share with us here in South Georgia.
“Something for us as a community to remember that he came through here. When his footsteps leave, someone else is going to have to fill them," said Herpin.
Andrus said he knows he may never raise all the money necessary for his cause but he’s willing to spend the next five years trying.
For more information on his time here in South Georgia, click here.