By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
In the year 1923 Calvin Coolidge took over as president following the death of Warren G. Harding, the first issue of Time Magazine was published, the Walt Disney and Warner Bros. media empires were established, and on May 30, in Lawton, Kentucky, Clarence “Toots” Boggs was born.
Boggs will celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth next Tuesday, but the community and family that loves the iconic Carter County native surprised the decorated WWII veteran with an early celebration this past weekend in Olive Hill.
Boggs and his wife Barbara thought they were attending a dinner for veterans when they walked into First Christian Church. He said he was nearly overcome with emotion when he realized it was instead a celebration for him.
“It was all a surprise to me,” Boggs said. “You could have pushed me over when I saw.”
Over the course of the celebration Boggs, who earned five bronze stars during his service in Europe and North Africa – including participation at Normandy and in the Battle of the Bulge – was recognized by the governor, local legislators, and the mayor of Olive Hill.
Governor Andy Beshear recognized Boggs as a Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the nation, the commonwealth, and his community.
Secretary of State Michael Adams’ office recognized Boggs with the Commonwealth Ambassador Award, the highest award his office can endow.
Boggs also received letters of recognition from Representative Patrick Flannery and Senator Robin Webb, and letters of recognition from both the House and Senate on their behalf.
Mayor Jerry Callihan also issued a proclamation declaring May 30, 2023 – Boggs 100th birthday – as Clarence “Toots” Boggs Day in Olive Hill.
First Christian pastor Adam Foster and his wife Emily said they were approached by the city about hosting the event through congregation member Von Perry.
“As soon as we found out we were excited,” Foster said. “We want to be a light in our community.”
“We were honored and excited to do it,” Emily added. “A 100th birthday is exciting!”
Boggs’ family, some of whom traveled from West Virginia and Virginia to be there, said they appreciated the church and the community for recognizing their grandfather.
“We were honored and blessed to celebrate Toots’ 100th birthday, and all he has done for our country, serving in WWII,” said his granddaughter Jessica Schubring, speaking on behalf of the family. “He is the kindest and best father, father-in-law, grandfather, and great-grandfather, and we are very proud of him!”
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