GILMAN, Ill. (WCIA) — We want to honor people doing amazing things in the community.
That’s why we’re starting a segment called Everyday Heroes.
The first is about a Central Illinois man who served in one of the most dangerous areas and did one of the deadliest jobs in World War Two. He just turned 100 years old, but there’s way more to what makes Max Howard an Everyday Hero.
If you drive by the small town of Gilman you might miss it. But if you look close enough you’ll find a man who’s lived a life documented in our history books.
“When I went overseas it was kind of scary,” said Howard.
Howard is a former World War Two naval aviator.
“I didn’t get hurt but lost a lot of good friends,” added Howard.
Howard was part of bombing runs in the Pacific.
“I had the machine gun to keep the enemy away,” explained Howard. His official title was Bombardier.
“It was quite an honor to be the Bombardier. The pilot dropped the bomb and we was in an old SBD Dauntless, the pilot and myself,” added Howard.
Don’t let the 100 year old highly decorated veteran’s age fool you.
When asked what has kept him going so long, he responded, “That I don’t know, boy I never dreamed I would be one hundred years old.”
Even at 100 Howard still has his sharp wit and sense of humor.
“I’m a beer drinker, I have a beer about every time I have a meal it’s good,” said Howard.
Howard kept detailed records of everything he did serving overseas.
“Very good note taker, the journal he has here is very complete with days and events,” explained his Grandson Phil Kline.
Not only has Howard served our country, he’s been a pillar in the small Iroquois County community working in banking and giving out loans for years before retiring.
“He’s well regarded and highly regarded with the citizens of the community I think because I think he gave people a chance,” said Kline.
And if you ask Howard the secret to making it to 100?
“I don’t try to keep it a secret, I try to get somebody that likes beer too,” added Howard.