BROKEN BOW Ok -- Jimmy Burrell's life nearly ended on the battlefield in Germany in World War II. But thanks to one soldier, he made it back home to live a long life.
And this is definitely a time to celebrate.
Jimmy got a visit at his home from Samantha Humphries with the Caddo Area Agency on Aging, and State Representative Johnny Tadlock, presenting him with a citation from the Oklahoma House and other gifts in honor of his 100th birthday.
Before that, Jimmy received birthday greetings from the White House, including a signed letter from President Trump and First Lady Melania.
Brandon Pope,who grew up next to Jimmy after he came home from the war, read the remarks from the First Family to Jimmy, saying in part, "Your American century is a proud part of our nation's remarkable story. We are inspired by your continued strength and spirit as we join your family and friends in celebrating this tremendous milestone."
Brandon says that as a boy, he would jump on Jimmy's tractor as he farmed the vast acres behind his home.
"He said it sure was hard to get his work done with me on the side of the tractor with him," Brandon recalled, then turned to Jimmy to add, "But you let me ride on there anyways, didn't you?"
Both men laughed.
As a boy, Brandon knew Jimmy was a World War II veteran. But that was about it.
"He didn't talk a whole lot about it because I was just a little kid. But I remember looking up at his Purple Heart and his medals that he had up on his wall."
That Purple Heart awarded to Jimmy in 1944 after shrapnel from German shelling nearly took his life as a young soldier.
"I bled plumb out when I got wounded," Jimmy said, pointing to his left leg.
Jimmy needed first aid -- fast. But Jimmy remembers his fellow troops talking about what to do.
"And they said well -- I remember this -- we better take him back. If you don't take him now or he's going to die. And they said, well he'll die anyway because we're going to make an attack this morning.
"But one guy -- I'll never forget his name -- they called him Jeep Ryan. And he said, yeah, he's going back now because I'm going to take him."
They got the bleeding stopped and Jimmy pumped with plasma. After nine months in the hospital, he was sent back to the states. He never got to see that Jeep Ryan again -- the man who saved him.
But he did have a son and three daughters with his wife, and made longtime friends like Brandon.
And now he's lived to be 100.
"Lord blessed me for a good long time after all that on me," Jimmy says of life after the war. "
Jimmy's birthday is officially on Friday, August 23rd.