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Ozarks Life: WWII Volunteer Laura Carter is ready for Olympic Games

Laura hopes to hear the National Anthem played many times.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:51 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If age is just a number, then Laura Carter is living her Ozarks Life well under par.

Inside of her south Springfield home, Laura has quite the collection of golf trophies.

“I won two (titles) in Bella Vista,” Laura said.

Today, Laura only gets out to play nine-holes maybe a few times a week. Not bad for someone who’s 98-and-a-half years old.

“Yeah, my friends say okay, ‘I want to be like Laura when I grow up,” Laura laughs.

Laura is still as playful as a kid. And with no one to tell her to stop practicing her swing inside, she works on her form in her home.

Before she had the freedom to play golf at various clubs across the nation, she was helping our nation with its fight to remain free during World War II. She joined the Naval Reserves’ women’s program, the WAVES, at the age of 20.

“Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service,” Laura said.

“I was working in a beauty shop in the basement of Cooper’s department store in Fresno, California. At noon, I went up, it was lunchtime. So I went up and I was gonna walk down the street and here comes this band playing, you know, military music. So I marched right behind them and went in and joined the Navy.”

Laura’s husband Roy was also with the Navy. He served aboard an LST in both Europe and the Pacific during the War. Five years ago, Chad Plein visited him as the last Summer Olympic games were getting ready to start.

Along with Laura having quite the collection, so did Roy.

One of his prized possessions, two pieces of 5x7 paper. They’re the front and back of Roy’s 1932 Olympic Games program. On one side, it shows this booklet cost 10-cents, on the other, it’s priceless.

“I was down there where all the athletes were,” Roy said in our 2016 interview, “and had access to them, and they didn’t want to turn me down.”

On August 7, 1932, Roy saw a woman ahead of her time, Babe Didrikson win two gold and a silver.

“Even at that time,” Roy said, “I knew it was a significant event. I was only 10 but knew it was historic.”

Just above Babe’s autograph is another signature from a pioneer woman, Amelia Earhart, who five years later would vanish.

“I sure miss his mind, I’ll tell you that,” Laura said.

Roy passed away a little after a month of our story airing in 2016.

But like Roy did five years ago, Laura and other military veterans will watch the United States compete in the Olympics this week. She hopes to hear the National Anthem played many times.

“Well, you know, we need something to bring the United States together again,” Laura said. “Because we were offered 15 different directions. It’s sad, it’s sad.”

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