World War II veteran turns 100; family throws huge party
HASTINGS, Neb. —
This time last year Raymond Rutt, or Uncle Ray as his family members call him, celebrated his 99th birthday - not sure if he was going to make it to his 100th.
This year, family members from all around the world helped him celebrate this big accomplishment at the Hasting’s Auditorium on Sunday.
"Everybody in Hastings knows Uncle Ray,” Rhonda Rutt-Kolbet, Uncle Rutt’s great niece joked.
Raymond Rutt was raised on a farm in Campbell. Milking cows and hauling hay, at an early age Rutt learned the true meaning of hard work.
"Well I put up a lot of hay–bailed hay and sold it to people in Texas," Raymond said.
Soon after, his hard work on the farm turned into hard work elsewhere. He was drafted into the United States Army during World War II.
"Two years overseas, one year in the states," Raymond said.
He survived battles like D–Day.
"Yeah, made the landing on Omaha beach," he said.
Not only is he an American hero, but a hero to all the people in the room who helped their Uncle Ray celebrate his 100th birthday.
"We just want him to know that he is loved dearly," Dan Rutt, his nephew, said.
Their Uncle Ray is the last of 14 children.
Raymond has no children of his own, but close to 100 nieces and nephews came in from all over. Some came from so far that even he was surprised.
"Nephews nieces coming from Canada. Canada," Raymond said.
Raymond, though 100 years old, still has his wits about him. His nephew said he should be a salesman because he still has such persistence.
"I talk to him probably three times a week. And I don't call him, he calls me. He’s very - what's the word? He doesn't take no for an answer very easily–which is awesome. And we love him dearly," Dan said.
As for the secret to longevity, "Well you gotta stop drinking coffee and whiskey," Raymond said.