Carolina Caring Honors 104-year-old WWII Veteran and Hospice Patient for His Service and Sacrifice

HICKORY, NC (June 5, 2024) ⇒ Carolina Caring was pleased to honor the military service of 104-year-old World War II veteran, Ernest Smith, with a special pinning ceremony at his home in Morganton in February. The ceremony was part of the nonprofit serious illness provider’s specialized veteran services, which help ensure our nation’s servicemen and women get the high-quality care they so richly deserve at the end of life. Carolina Caring veteran volunteer, Col. Tim Herndon, performed the ceremony, which included the bestowing of a commemorative pin and certification of recognition.

Carolina Caring veteran volunteer Col. Tim Herndon salutes WWII U.S. Navy Veteran Ernest Smith during a pinning ceremony at his home in Morganton, N.C.

A hospice patient of Carolina Caring, Smith is a native of Burke County who bravely served our country. As was common in the 1930s, he did not attend school as a child, but went straight to work on the family farm at age 10. His father shortened the handles of the plow so his small son could control the mule and plow on his own.

Smith believes his life experiences prepared him for his role in the U.S. Navy, which began right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He operated mainly on the USS Chilton transport ship, which was regularly attacked by infamous Kamikaze pilots. Smith still has pieces of the Japanese aircraft that landed at his feet.

Col. Herndon noted during the ceremony that the WWII Admiral over Smith attributed the success of the United States, domestic and abroad, to young soldiers like him. Smith attributes his longevity and many blessings to God and his steadfast faith and prayer.

Many tears were shed as Smith expressed his gratitude for his family and his country, as well as the support he receives from his care team at Carolina Caring. “They are truly wonderful people,” Smith says. “I thank the Lord for keeping me safe and allowing me to live so long.”

Carolina Caring has partnered with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to provide individualized care and services, unique to the needs of the resilient men and women who have served our nation so faithfully.

For more information about our veteran services or to become a volunteer, visit or call 828.466.0466.

Carolina Caring, founded in 1979, is an independent, community-based, nonprofit healthcare provider. It specializes in programs that offer relief from chronic conditions, serious illnesses, and the challenges they bring, including palliative medicine and hospice care for all ages, primary care and grief counseling. Carolina Caring serves 12 counties across western North Carolina and the Charlotte Region. For more information, please call 828.466.0466 or visit