Ninety-Nine-Year-Old Sidney Walton has a mission he intends on completing before he dies. The WWII veteran is trying to meet every governor in the United States.
So far, he’s shaken hands with 15.
“Seeing a veteran like Sidney smile is pretty inspiring to a guy like me. We want to keep the greatest generation smile going,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
Inslee wasn’t able to bestow any medals upon the veteran. He did, however, give Watson a token of Washington’s finest. An apple pin.
“This is not the congressional medal of honor, but we kind of like it anyway,” said Inslee.
Walton joined the Army in March 1941, at 21 years old, KIRO 7 reports. He turns 100 on February 11, 2019, and his late-in-life mission is partly inspired by an opportunity he missed as a child. Growing up in New York in the early 20th Century, Walton once had the chance to meet a veteran of the Civil War.
“I never did … I wish I could meet a Civil War veteran,” said Sidney.
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Now, Walton and his son, Paul, are traveling across the country in search of gubernatorial greetings.
“He (Sidney) doesn’t want anyone to live with the regret that he lived with,” Paul told King 5 News. “He’s putting himself out there to meet anyone who wants to meet a World War II veteran.”
The elder Walton hopes to meet several more governors before his next birthday. After starting the “No Regrets Tour” in Providence, Rhode Island, the Watsons traveled through Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, before heading to the Midwest.
Here’s a list of the stops Walton has made so far:
- 4/24 – Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island; appointed Honorary Brigadier General of RI Militia
- 4/30 – Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker; honored on field at Fenway Park
- 5/4 – Maine Gov. Paul LePage; luncheon w/ First Lady Ann LePage
- 5/10 – Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy
- 5/18 – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; 1-hr private meeting
- 5/24 – New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy
- 5/28 – Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb; private mtg. & Memorial Day ceremony after Indy 500
- 6/11 – Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts press conference
- 6/19 – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
- 6/26 – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin
- 7/3 – Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner
- 7/11 – Florida Gov. Rick Scott
- 9/25 – Alaska Gov. Bill Walker
- 10/5 – Hawaii Gov. David Ige
- 10/17 -Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
Learn more about Sidney Walton’s National “No Regrets Tour” at www.gosidneygo.com, and in the meantime, watch the video below!
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.