Kentucky's Last WWI Veteran Dies at Age 107

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Hopkins County, KY – Flags will be flying at half-staff Monday in honor of the passing of Kentucky’s last surviving World War I-era veteran, Robley Henry Rex of Louisville.

In more than 70 years of volunteer service, he has given more than 13,000 hours of his time and helped an estimated 60,000 patients at the Louisville VA hospital.  For decades, Rex was often the only advocate for veterans and their families in southwest

     

robley_h_rex_400Mr. Robley H. Rex would have celebrated his 108th birthday this month and joined the U.S. Army in May 1919 shortly after his 18th birthday just six months after fighting ended.  He served in a military intelligence unit at 3rd Army Headquarters in Germany and a boxer.  Mr. Rex farmed in Daviess County, KY before moving to Louisville where he eventually retired as a railroad postal clerk.  He was a member fo the American Legion for 75 years and active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Mr. Rex logged more than 14,000 hours during his 22 years as a volunteer in the Louisville VA Medical Center.  He ran for chaplain in 1998 and was honored at the VFW’s national convention in 2008.  

Services will be Monday May 11th and Governor Steve Beshear has directed that all flags at state buildings throughout the state to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on that day.  All business owners, organizations, and individuals in Kentucky are asked to do the same. 

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Excerpt from the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Robley H. Rex at the 2007 Governors Awards Program in Kentucky. 

Robley H. Rex of Louisville is a 25-year member of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and considered a
champion among volunteers for his many years of service to the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Louisville.  A United States Army veteran, Robley began his volunteer service to his fellow service members at the national landmark Nichols General Army Hospital in southern Jefferson County.  In more than 70 years of volunteer
service, he has given more than 13,000 hours of his time and helped an estimated 60,000 patients at the Louisville VA hospital.  For decades, Rex was often the only advocate for veterans and their families in southwest
Jefferson County.  With his talent for details, Rex managed to cut through red tape to help veterans and their widows or children access medical services or survivor benefits.  A team of drivers helps him get to the homes of veterans and their families when crisis situations arise and the drivers help him get to the VA Medical Center for his scheduled duties in the Escort Office.

Rex also has served with food commodities disbursement at the Newburg Community Center. He is the founder of the VFW Okolona Post where he has served as chaplain and commander and was honored by having a building addition at the post named after him. His service and volunteer leadership have inspired other veterans to find ways they can help their communities.  Rex continues to visit and encourage fellow vets at the VA hospital while receiving his own medical care. He serves on the VA Volunteer Services Committee and attends meetings regularly.

A multiple award winner for service on and off the battlefield, Robley is beloved for his quick wit, magical smile and unfailing kindness.  Robley Rex is Kentucky’s only surviving WWI-era veteran, a sergeant first-class who served his country in active duty from 1919 to 1922. He celebrated his 107th birthday May 2

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