Herman Noel Parker joined the U.S. Army 77 years ago last week.
At one point this year, 389,292 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were alive, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics.
Certainly today, that number is even lower.
The men and women who fought and won the great conflict are now in their late 80s and 90s, and these national treasures are dying quickly.
At least one of those World War II veterans still living resides in Arab.
Parker, who turned 97 this past June, is a resident at Diversicare of Arab.
The Carrollton, Ga., native joined the U.S. Army on Nov. 29, 1942.
He was a private first class in Company M-335 of the 84th Infantry.
He served as a cook and was often on the front lines of numerous European battlefields.
After being discharged on Dec. 8, 1945, he and his wife, Cloia Jewel Parker, eventually settled in at Hulaco, and after moving away for eight years for job purposes, they returned to Hulaco and then eventually moved to Arab.
They came to Diversicare in May of 2013 and shared a room there until Cloia died in 2015.
Since then, Parker has become good friends with another resident, Richard Brown, a Vietnam War veteran (1961-62).
“They became best friends in the nursing home and now share a room together,” said Barbara Dorsett, activity director at Diversicare. “Richard treats him like a daddy.”
So do Carolyn Isbell and Jerry Parker, Parker’s actual children.
Carolyn lives in Arab and Jerry lives in Hulaco.
They both send cards and visit often.
When Carolyn visits, she brings her pet dog Mandy to visit her dad, too.
“He and his family have become a part of our ‘family’ here at Diversicare of Arab,” Dorsett said.
Parker attended Grandi Floria Church of Christ in Baileyton before moving into Diversicare.
He had five brothers and one sister.
Brothers Horace and Jack and sister Clara Hyatt, have passed.
One brother, Gary, lives in Georgia. J.L. Parker lives in Arab and Junior Parker lives in Texas.