In 1913, The 16th Amendment was ratified into the United States Constitution and Woodrow Wilson was sworn in as the 28th President. This was the same year that California’s oldest living WWII Veteran was born. Henry Barba, was honored by Welcome Home Military Heroes in Arroyo Grande, CA.
Even at 108 years old, he is still energized about life!
“Mr. Barba just went to the LA Dodgers game where he was able to watch them beat the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers honored him by bringing him out onto the field.” – Robert Tolan Jr. (Co Founder of Welcome Home Military Heroes).
Welcome Home Military Heroes honored PVT Barba with a Veteran Vehicle Salute. The California Highway Patrol, Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America are just some of the other Veteran nonprofits who joined in this salute.
“We look forward to seeing you again next year Mr. Barba: – Cheryl Tolan (Co founder and Secretary for WHMH)
Continue scrolling to view a few photos by Michael Ens Photography and a newspaper article written by the LA Dodgers.
Picture Above: Robert Tolan Jr. holds his Daughter, Liberty, who is just under 107 years younger than Mr. Barba.
The California Highway Patrol leads WHMH 99th Veteran Vehicle Salute.
The Fire Cities Fire Authority join in honoring Mr. Barba for his 108th Birthday!
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10978 out of Nipomo, CA join in the Veteran Vehicle Salute
Mr. Barba is presented with a LA Dodgers bottle of wine!
To learn more about Henry Barba, please read below. The story was written by Dodgers Insider:
by Mark Langill
On the day after celebrating his 107th birthday, Henry Barba mixed moxie with impatience before watching Game 1 of the 2020 World Series on television at his Santa Margarita home.
“They’d better win this year!” said Barba, whose birth year coincided with the 1913 opening of Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. “The Dodgers have always been my team.”
Although he spent his entire life on the West Coast, Barba adopted the Brooklyn Dodgers as a child. He rooted for Gil Hodges — “a great hitter and a great first baseman” — and recalls the gradual transition on the radio broadcasts from veteran Red Barber to Vin Scully, who joined the franchise as the third announcer alongside Barber and Connie Desmond in 1950.
Who could’ve imagined his Dodgers would move to the West Coast in 1958 and that generations later one of Barba’s 100th birthday gifts would be an autographed Vin Scully microphone.
“Henry has been an inspiration to our family,” said Henry’s nephew, Ron Barba. “He just keeps going, no matter what. He still drives a tractor and works in the fields, cutting the grass. He didn’t have much money growing up. He was a hard worker. The whole family worked hard. He was the only one back then who paid attention to baseball.”
In the 1920s, Henry worked on a ranch operating a wheat harvester powered by mules. His next stop was the Southern Pacific Railroad, maintaining the tracks and working at the San Luis Obispo roundhouse where the steam locomotives were housed and serviced.
In World War II, he was housed in a tent while stationed in Alaska as a member of the 250th Coastal Artillery Battery on Kodiak Island. After the war, Henry returned home and worked for the Union Oil Company pipeline section in Santa Margarita for 37 years. He retired in 1978. Henry’s brother, Cecil Barba, who passed away at age 92 in 2015, worked on the construction of the Dodger Stadium parking lot, which opened in 1962.
During a video interview this week, Ron Barba and Henry’s grandson, Dan Barba, displayed several pieces of Dodger memorabilia, including a “100” jersey, a signed baseball from the 1978 National League champions, a Zenith radio from the 1960s that blared Dodger games for decades and a pile of cherished ticket stubs that included Fernando Valenzuela’s first Major League start — a 2–0 victory over the Astros on Opening Day 1981. There are also snapshots from Camera Day in 1978, where the family took photos with Jim Gilliam just months before the longtime player and coach passed away at age 49.
Ron and Dan also found a baseball glove in an old building behind the family house. It’s likely the glove that Henry used as a member of the 1934 Atascadero High baseball team.
“In 1981, Henry took me to Cal Poly to see Dave Stewart, Steve Sax and Mike Scioscia,” Ron said. “Henry greatly admired the old guys like Jim Gilliam, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Sandy Koufax.”
Henry’s excitement during this World Series resonates in a world facing unique challenges because of the pandemic. Baseball has provided a welcome distraction, just as the sport provided entertainment throughout the journey of a man who has lived through two global pandemics, a Great Depression and two World Wars.
Henry’s baseball memories remain crystal clear, including peering through a wooden fence in the late 1930s to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Spring Training games at Perris Hill Park in San Bernardino. Two Hall of Famers were on Pittsburgh’s staff — manager Pie Traynor and coach Honus Wagner.
“I didn’t have enough money to go inside,” Henry said. “But there was a gap between the pieces of wool — large enough so I could see everything that was going on.”
As for the secret to his longevity, Henry’s advice could also be adopted for Dodger fans waiting for the team’s first championship since 1988.
“It’s just what Vin Scully says … ‘Take things one day at a time.’”
Link to Article: A Dodger fan for the ages