Marianna World War II veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Willard Henderson served in World War II.
Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 12:33 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MARIANNA, Fla. (WTVY) - On September 24, 2022, C. W. ‘Willard’ Henderson hit the century mark.

For those who know Henderson, you know he’s been absent from his favorite breakfast spot in Cottondale. Hardee’s has been his go-to breakfast restaurant Monday through Saturday for many years. He is such a favorite there, last year for his 99th birthday, he was honored with his own parking space.

Fast forward a year and he had an interesting tale about his recent four-week absence from Hardee’s. Henderson said, “It’s a long story but it’s a true story. Me and a roach bug were having a race and I fell down trying to catch him. I broke my left hip is what happened. I went to Dothan, and they put a pin in my hip.”

Henderson can find good humor in most situations and his battle with the roach bug was no exception. “I fell Monday night four weeks ago on my hip and broke it. According to the history and everything, I’ve outdone myself according to my age. I should’ve been killed but I wasn’t.”

Henderson has vivid details of his accident. “I had a fly swatter in my hand when I was chasing that roach bug and it stayed in my hand. My phone was on the kitchen counter and so was my hearing aid. So, I used my fly swatter to rake my phone off the counter and then raked my hearing aid and I called for help. A friend came to help me and was going to lift me up and I knew my hip was broken so I told him no, I was gonna need an ambulance. He called and they came and took me to Dothan.” He said he was treated well by the fire rescue crew.

After his surgery in Dothan, he went to Chipola Rehab in Marianna. From there, he went to his daughter’s house in LaGrange, Georgia. Henderson has been in the best of the best places to recover in that his son-in-law is Dr. Randy Comerford, an orthopedic surgeon. Henderson said, “They felt like I needed to go up there where they could see about me better. I am hoping I’ll be back home where I belong on my birthday, the 24th of next month because we are supposed to have a blowout or a blowup, or something.”

While he was back home for a couple of days, he was planning to check on his parking space at Hardee’s last Saturday morning, “If there’s anybody parked there, I am going to prosecute them. You know a good lawyer and we will get them moved. No, I got word a dear lady friend of mine lives in Cottondale, and she comes to Hardee’s. After I left there, she took over the parking space, which was good, you know. If she’s there, it keeps someone else from taking it. But when I come back, she’ll have to find somewhere else to park.”

When asked about one of his more memorable Hardee’s stories, he had in the words of Hazel, a “doozie”. “Back before my wife passed away, we went to Hardee’s for breakfast and she was dragging a little, so I went on in and ordered my breakfast – a biscuit and a cup of coffee. The lady there knew us and asked if I was going to order my wife something. I told her I couldn’t that day because we shared one set of dentures, and it was my day for them. She got a kick out of that.”

Subscribe to our News 4 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning. Get instant notifications on top stories from News 4 by downloading our mobile apps.