104-Year-Old World War II Veteran Receives Highest Honor an Indiana Governor Can Give

by Taylor Cunningham

A World War II veteran received a well-deserved tribute last week when he was handed the “Sagamore of the Wabash” award.

104-year-old Ned B. Kent was celebrated for his bravery and heroism by the state of Indiana last week. He was given the highest honor that the Governor of Indiana can bestow upon a veteran. Indiana State Police Superintendent, Doug Carter, presented Kent with the “Sagamore of the Wabash” on behalf of Governor Eric Holcomb. 

“I’m very grateful to be able to present this award to Mr. Kent and am looking forward to seeing him at the next Memorial Service at the Jasper Post,” Carter told reporters.

“I’m very honored to receive this award. It came as a total surprise,” Kent said after the ceremony.

World War II veteran and Former Indiana Gov. Ralph Gates created the Sagamore of the Wabash after serving overseas. Each honoree is “distinguished by his (her) humanity in living, his loyalty in friendship, his wisdom in council, and his inspiration in leadership.” And during Kent’s century-long life, he has lived up to the award.

Kent, who is one of seven children, was born and raised in Greene County, IN. He graduated from Sandborn High School before attending Lockyear Business College. In 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. From there, Kent served four years and nine months. During that time, he fought in Europe, Africa, and Italy. 

When Kent retired from service, he bought a small business selling agricultural lime to farmers. And eventually, the veteran purchased a flower shop in Sandborn, Ind., which he owned for 27 years. 

Kent married Adelyne Benham in 1948. And the two were for 71 years before he became a widower. During their marriage, the couple had two sons. Today, Kent has five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  

The Oldest Living World War II Veteran Offers Sage Advice on 112th Birthday

At 112-year old, World War II veteran Lawrence Brooks holds a lot of wisdom. He’s lived through both world wars, a great depression, and civil unrest. He also experiences over a century of love and loss.

Brooks has become a favorite at the World War II museum in New Orleans, LA. And over the years, the organization has started celebrating his birthday by his side.

“This is one of the days that the entire staff of the World War II museum looks forward to. We all love Mr. Brooks. He represents so much,” a museum rep told WDSU news. “He represents a generation that helped save the world. He’s just a wonderful person. If you ask Mr. Brooks, ‘How did you live so long?’ He’s going to tell you, ‘Be nice to people.”

And that bit of simple advice is just what he gave Donald Remy, the Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, when he visited Lawrence for his birthday. When WDSU asked Remy what the well-loved veteran had to say, Remy told them, “serve God and be nice to people.”