‘It’s humbling’: 100-year-old WWII veteran honored and thanked at Festival of Lights

Harold Gary, a 100-year-old WWII veteran stands to greet guests at 'Festival of Lights' at...
Harold Gary, a 100-year-old WWII veteran stands to greet guests at 'Festival of Lights' at Otsiningo Park.(WBNG 12 News)
Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 4:49 AM EST
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(WBNG) -- Harold Gary is a WWII veteran and centenarian. He lives in the Southern Tier where some have said he, up until recently, walked close to six miles a day.

Gary, who served in the Navy as a Sub Hunter was honored at the ‘Festival of Lights’ at Otsiningo Park Sunday night. The evening’s proceeds went to the Twin Tier Honor Flight program to help veterans such as himself take a trip to Washington D.C. Gary attended back in 2019 with his guardian Patti Jo Caterson.

“[I’m] so impressed with each Memorial I think especially the memorial for World War II that was just beyond imagination once I saw it,” Gary said.

Caterson and Gary met the morning of their mission, and ever since, have been inseparable. “We’ve been tight family ever since,” Gary said.

Their adventure together did not stop at the Honor Flight. According to Caterson, they have been in touch ever since, and are in the process of planning two trips in the near future. “[I’ve] been a fan of the UConn girls basketball for 20 years no she and her husband are taking me to see a game in Connecticut.”

Caterson and her husband are also planning to bring Gary to visit his brother’s final resting place in Europe. “I have a brother buried in Belgium, who shot down a B-17 pilot and they’re taking me there to visit his grave” mentioned Gary. He says he is looking forward to both trips with his guardian, and now a lifelong friend.