Cars formed a long line on the streets of Rockne, Texas on Saturday morning, as the community gathered to celebrate its annual homecoming parade in honor of the brave veterans. However, this year’s event held a unique significance as it paid tribute to one remarkable individual: Arthur Goertz, a World War II veteran who is about to reach the momentous milestone of turning 100 years old.
Reminiscing on the approaching centenary, Rockne’s iconic figure, affectionately known as Arthur Goertz, expressed his disbelief, exclaiming, “Ain’t that something, it’s unreal.” Goertz had served in the Marshall Islands during the Second World War, operating as a driver of an LCM boat responsible for transporting 96 infantrymen along with their equipment from the 93rd Infantry. Detailing his father’s duties, AJ Goertz, one of Arthur’s sons, emotionally shared that his father “would unload them onto the shore, knowing that several of them might never come back again. But that was his job.”
Arthur Goertz’s contributions extend beyond his service in the military. He has been actively involved in giving back to his community, particularly in mentoring the young cowboys and imparting his wisdom to the next generation. AJ Goertz proudly declared, “He also helped train the next generation of young cowboys how to do it work the right way. He’s the real deal.” In recognition of his passion for ranching and cowboying, Goertz has been affectionately dubbed “Rockne’s cowboy,” a testament to his enduring legacy in the town.
As the community gathered to honor Arthur Goertz, it is not lost on anyone that celebrating a centennial birthday is a rare occurrence. When asked about the secret behind his longevity, Goertz playfully replied, “Oh, I don’t know.” However, his son, AJ, shared a little secret that he believes has contributed to his father’s journey to 100 years. AJ emphasized that it is the unwavering love, support, and camaraderie of the community that has been instrumental in his father’s longevity.
The sight of the lively crowd and heartwarming posters during the parade brought a smile to Goertz’s face, signifying the deep appreciation and respect the community holds for him. On September 25, Goertz will officially become a centenarian, marking a remarkable milestone in his life that only a fortunate few achieve. His incredible journey serves as an inspiration to not only the community of Rockne but to a wider audience, embodying the resilience and dedication that epitomize the very best of the human spirit.