TTU grad said he joined the Army to marry the love of his life

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80-year-old Don McWhorter survived a stroke, a heart attack, a broken neck, broken shoulders, electrocution and falling off of a roof... Yet, he lives to tell his Veteran's Day story.

LUBBOCK, Texas– Army veteran Don McWhorter said on Tuesday that he enlisted in the military when he was 17 years old because his father-in-law stood in between him and his high school sweetheart, who he met at a speech contest.

“I want to marry your daughter,” he told his father-in-law, who responded, “But son, you haven’t finished your military career yet.”

So, McWhorter joined the Army. A year and a half after he met Millie, he married her.

It turned out the McWhorter “really enjoyed” serving in the military.

“I went to Korea as a little boy, and I came back as the man. That’s what the Army does for you,” he said.

In the Army, McWhorter became a chaplain and counseled 30 to 40 people daily. He assisted a Korean chaplain as the two traveled together, preaching to various villages in Korea.

He discharged service members from duty as needed, but the job was so stressful that he ended up with an ulcer, which didn’t stop his drive.

McWhorter enjoyed serving so much that he went on to spend his life serving others.

“I had 30 years of teaching, 30 years in service, and we traveled for 20 years,” he told KLBK News.

McWhorter once asked his seventh-grade students to figure out his age, and “They figured I was 104,” he chuckled.

He served in West Texas as a police chaplain for 22 years and a hospital chaplain for 20 years.

Now retired, McWhorter said he still spends his time giving back to the community.

“When I was a pastor, I was paid to be good. Now, I’m a freelance minister, and I’m good for nothing,” he laughed again, adding more seriously, “I truly believe that God has assigned me here to do this job.”

And he said he truly enjoys it.

McWhorter explained that it’s the people who have sacrificed everything that has made Veteran’s Day so important to him. He said many service members were drafted, did their two years and got out.

“But many of them gave their two years and gave their lives in combat,” he said. “Everyone deserves a great deal of appreciation, and veterans need to be honored on these days.”

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