After he waved to them for years, community throws parade for 93-year-old veteran

ByBrandon Johansen via Localish logo
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
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This veteran spent every morning waving to drivers, now it's their turn.

OAKHURST, Calif. -- The Central California community of Oakhurst said farewell to a local veteran who's been brightening people's days for years.

Bill Howie served in World War II and spent almost every single morning waving to drivers outside the local California Highway Patrol Office.

"I'm 94 this year," Howie said while waving to drivers outside the office. "I'm listening for beeps. I say good morning to everybody out here every morning."

Howie lived behind the station and would walk over to the station each morning. He developed a relationship with the officers who drove in and out of the office each morning.

When the CHP and the community learned that Howie was moving out of the area, they knew they had to do something.

"The California Highway Patrol got word that the older gentlemen, Bill Howie, who has been sitting out in front of our office waving at cars as they pass by, he was planning on moving out of the area to Clovis," said Officer Jason Bettini with the CHP.

"And so the community reached out to the Highway Patrol and said, is there something that we as a community can do for Mr. Howie? And we came up with the idea of having a parade for him as a farewell."

Howie was joined by his family on his final day in Oakhurst as hundreds of cars lined up to honk for Bill. His record for honks was 168. On his final day, he counted more than 300.

"When you can reach out and wave to somebody in a kindly gesture, then it goes a long way and people will take that with them wherever they go," Bettini said.

"I will miss all of them, they are all nice people," Howie added.