97-year-old WWII vet to serve as Redding Rodeo Parade grand marshal

Apr 1, 2015 7:23 PM by Charlene Cheng

Georgene Benton caught the travel bug when she was a little girl.

"I don't know how many times I've been across the country, at least 20 times, before I was in service. I was already in every state, including Hawaii and Alaska," she said.

That's not surprising.

After all, her journey into this world started out on the water, 97 years ago.

"I was born on a riverboat. My birth certificate says Sacramento, although I wasn't born there," she said.

Naturally, Georgene joined the U.S. Army as a free-spirited 26-year-old, during World War II, where she trained the Secret Service.

"Crytography, teletype, physical training, and a few other things," she said.

Her next adventure?

Serving as grand marshal in this year's Redding Rodeo Parade.

"I was quite surprised. Very grateful, of course," Georgene said.

"There's a certain movie star stigma to Georgene. Everyone loves her, and we thought it would be a wonderful way to honor her for the parade that's coming up," said Gary Moore, a member of the Asphalt Cowboys who serves on the parade committee.

Until then, she'll be entertaining friends and family at the Redding Veterans Home, where she lives, and polishing up her autobiography.

I finished it in pencil, but I've added a few things since I've been here. I've done a lot of interesting things in my life but this is another thing I can stick in there," Georgene said.

This year's Redding Rodeo Week kicks off on May 9, and you can see Georgene in the parade that Saturday.


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