CARSON CITY, NV -- After serving overseas in World War II and contributing to major projects in northern Nevada, one local veteran got special honors over the weekend.
Ivan Woodford has lived through 17 presidencies, several wars and a time when a gallon of gas was just $0.07. He grew up on a ranch in southern California and enlisted in the Navy as a Seabee, part of the construction battalion in 1942.
"It's something unexpected, but it's something I'm kind of glad they are recognizing me in my old age because not too many people get to be 103," Woodford said.
When his service ended in 1946, he stuck to his cowboy roots and moved to Reno, where he worked on various projects in the city and Washoe Valley, such as Interstate 80.
"I always worked outside all my life and that's what I want to do," he said. "I like to dig in the ground."
More than a half century later, his service to the country officially gets recognized. At age 103, he is the oldest living veteran in the state of Nevada, earning him a holiday in his name.
"That was a surprise and I was very proud of him. I am proud of him," Myra Long, Woodford's stepdaughter, said.
"He's such a quiet man and he's done so much good in his life," Barbara Bray, Woodford's caretaker, said. "He deserves it."
"I can't see any difference. I'm just old," Woodford joked.
Woodford says he can attribute his good health to his clean lifestyle, saying he never drank or smoked in his lifetime.
A lot has changed in a little over a century, but for Woodford, there's only one thing that has remained constant: his love for his country.
"United States is one of the best countries there is."
Woodford will be the Deputy Grand Marshall in the Reno Veterans Day Parade on Monday. The parade will start at 11:11 a.m. over the Virginia Street Bridge in downtown Reno.