During his time in the Army, World War II veteran Don Carter became part of history in the making on battlefields throughout Europe.
The locale Tuesday was much more welcoming as Carter was honored for contributions past and present with an honorary street sign -- a historic first for Libertyville.
About 75 friends, neighbors and well-wishers gathered at the quiet corner on Dover Court at Dymond Road for the unveiling of Don Carter Way, a recognition that has been about a year in the making. Little American flags were attached to mailboxes along the short street to honor the 89-year-old who maintains a vitality that belies his years.
"Thank you very much for all you've done," said Mayor Terry Weppler.
"When we are done, that means all maintenance of this street is your responsibility," Weppler added, drawing laughs.
Carter accepted the challenge with a caveat.
"It becomes a toll road tomorrow morning," he quipped.
Carter was part of a tank crew, but for a long time didn't speak of his 11 months in combat in places like Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge, and Cherbourg, France, where he tore down a Nazi flag from German headquarters.
However, the man who admirers describe as living history, has for the past several years shared mesmerizing stories with students and others and remains active in various veterans and community activities and charities.
Last month, he again helped organize and emceed the village's well-known and extensive Memorial Day events, and will lead the parade this weekend at Libertyville Days.
"What more can you say about Don? He's been involved in so much," Weppler said.
Carter moved to Libertyville in 1974 and considered moving to Asheville, N.C., in 2000, when Mary, his wife of 64 years, retired.
"We decided we couldn't leave our friends, our church, our neighbors, so we stayed," the former sales executive told those who had gathered.
The street sign recognition was suggested by a neighbor, Barb Erickson, who held a party for the couple after the ceremony. An application and process had to be created by village officials.
"In the neighborhood, he takes care of everybody," Erickson said. "I said (to Carter), `Sometimes you put people on a pedestal -- I've got you above that."
One of those who attended was Navy Lt. Cmdr. Sheree T. Williams. She met Carter by chance at Erickson's auto body shop in Libertyville. A conversation ensued and an invite followed.
"It was one meeting and here I am. That was about a year ago," Williams said. "I think it's awesome."
Carter has simple advice for longevity.
"Keep busy. Get involved with things for your village, your church your neighborhood ... and everything else will follow," he said.