World War II veteran honored for her service - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

World War II veteran honored for her service

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World War II veteran Cora Smith was honored on her 94th birthday. (KTEN) World War II veteran Cora Smith was honored on her 94th birthday. (KTEN)
Cora Smith reacts with joy at her surprise 94th birthday party in Tishomingo. (KTEN) Cora Smith reacts with joy at her surprise 94th birthday party in Tishomingo. (KTEN)

TISHOMINGO, Okla. -- May is National Military Appreciation Month, and one World War II veteran in Tishomingo got a very special surprise on Friday.

It was birthday party for 94-year-old Cora Smith, along with some much-deserved recognition for her service.

"We knew that she would just be so excited, and she had never had a surprise birthday party before,” said Kathy Gooding, education director for the Southeast Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative.

Smith was honored by state Sen. Frank Simpson (R-District 14) and was presented with a citation of congratulations.

"It's not uncommon for me to honor veterans and recognize them for their service, but for the most part it's always just a bunch of guys,” Simpson said.

Smith assisted doctors with surgeries during World War II. "It's like a nurse's helper; that's what I did, you know -- the lower part of the profession, but we were very very busy,” she said.

And even though she was busy, she was happy in her wartime work.

"I like the idea to help somebody. I enjoyed it. It was really fun. I'll never forget it,” Smith said.

Now, Smith likes to do tai chi with the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative.

"It's fun!" she said. "It's all new to me, because I've never seen anything like that before."

Smith's teacher said she has been an inspiration to the others in the class.

"And across the room there was a gasp like, 'Is she going to make it?' Not only did she make it, she thrived, and she did it well, and she knew the moves and she did them beautifully, because Cora was once a dancer,” Gooding said.

For her part, Smith insisted she's still learning at age 94. "I can't be a rock star overnight,” she quipped.

The Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative works with seniors across Texoma. They're holding a benefit trap shoot in June to raise money to offer additional  programs.

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