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World War II veteran continues to serve at 98-years-old

Posted at 3:14 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 14:03:56-04

(CITY OF PUEBLO) – In the Home of Heroes, Pueblo, Colorado, it’s not difficult to find a veteran willing to lend a helping hand to the community.

“I’m a World War II veteran. I served from February 1942 to November 1945. I was discharged one day after my 26th birthday,” said Bill Barrett.

While no one would blame Barrett for wanting to spend quiet days at home, the 98 year-old has other plans.

It’s been 72 years since his discharge date from the military and he said he still feels a bond to fellow soldiers, spending time volunteering with veterans who are not in good health.

He also is good with numbers and uses that skill as the treasurer for his H.O.A. But even with all of these activities, Barrett said he was getting restless. That is until he learned about the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum.

“Well, it gets kind of boring sitting around the house all the time. I saw an ad in the paper one day that they were looking for people out here at the museum. So I came out and talked with them, they hired me, and I’ve been out here ever since,” Barrett said.

Since that point seven years ago, he’s been helping to bring smiles to those he meets and also working to bring this museum’s history to life, a task that doesn’t go unnoticed by those who share their time at the museum along side him.

“Bill is one of those gentleman who is a true gentleman,” commented Henry Eichman, another volunteer at the museum.

“He’s just so phenomenal that there aren’t really any dictionary words to describe him,” said Paula Haskell, the docent coordinator for the museum.

Communication was a key part of Barrett’s time during the war. “I don’t know if I told you or not, but I was a cryptographer in the signal corps,” Barrett said.

His mission was sending and receiving messages during World War II and he was trusted with things that were classified.

“All the messages that came in had to be in code, and all the messages that went out had to be in code,” explained Barrett.

These days, you can find him at the museum on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays working in the gift shop– engaging in a different sort of communication, “I love meeting all the people that come into the museum. I greet them when they come in and tell them goodbye when they leave.”

Despite the long days, Barrett said he has no plans of leaving his volunteer work anytime soon. He is even set on celebrating his 100th birthday at the museum.

“I don’t know if I contribute a whole lot, but I’m here three days a week. I spend a lot of time here and I don’t know what I’m going to do after. Well, I plan to stay here as long as I can,” he finished.

Learn more about the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum here.