ORANGE PARK, Fla. – A World War II Marine with a Purple Heart turned 100 years old and was honored Saturday at the third annual Veterans Appreciation Day in Clay County.
Winton Wright Carter enjoyed birthday cake as his family and friends clapped to celebrate the decorated World War II Marine at the event in Orange Park.
He said he likely inherited his longevity.
“I guess I inherited it from my grandmother. My maternal grandmother, she lived to be 96,” Carter said.
Carter was one of five children born in a small town in Georgia.
"A little north of Waycross. When I finished high school, there was no gainful employment, so I started in the military, and I left home to go to Savannah to join the Army, and I got down there and ran into a Marine sergeant and I put the brakes on right there. I joined the Marines," Carter said.
He spent 22 years serving his country in the Marine Corps and made a career out of the military.
Rep. Ted Yoho honored his service Saturday by signing a proclamation celebrating Carter for becoming a centenarian.
Carter said his age and health have been a gift from the Lord.
"I could be here 50 years from now or five days. It’s a great mystery. Fascinating, it’s been. I’ve been in the Lord’s hands for 100 years, and you don’t know how you got there." Carter said. "Through the goodness and grace, if I reach another 100, I will totally talk again."