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WWII Veteran’s 100th birthday celebrated with community caravan in Santa Barbara

WWII veteran birthday
Blake DeVine / NC3
WWII veteran Richard Buster Taylor (center) celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Saturday was a very special day for World War II veteran Richard Buster Taylor who saw the community come out in full force to celebrate his 100th birthday.

"It’s overwhelming, never expected anything like it,” said Taylor.

Aiming to honor veterans, Welcome Home Military Heroes co-founder Cheryl Tolan has helped organize 70 drive-by parades over the past pandemic year.

"It’s the least that we can do in order to give back to them for what they have done for us,” she said.

"It meant to have people appreciate and thank someone for all that he went through,” said Taylor's grandson Zachary.

After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Taylor joined the navy serving as an aviation ordinanceman. He was awarded the distinguished flying cross and an air medal.

"Sunk some big Japanese freighters and I personally shot down a Japanese fighter and sunk a destroyer escort,” said Taylor.

"When you look through the photos and hear his stories, he went through some harrowing experiences and it’s crazy to me that he made it out of there,” said Taylor's grandson.

Surrounded by family and friends, Taylor was also presented with some coins and certificates.

"It’s just awesome to celebrate his life while he is alive and can experience this,” said Zachary.

And his secret to living a long life: "stay healthy and be friendly with everybody.”

Lifestyle / Santa Barbara - South County
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Blake DeVine

Blake DeVine is a multimedia journalist at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Blake, click here.

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