(CNN)Good things come to those who wait, a 99-year-old Arkansas veteran learned.
Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Franklin Vaughns is a Tuskegee Airman and a veteran of World War II and the Korean War.
Decades after those conflicts, he was honored for his service in a ceremony at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
US Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, presented him with the National Defense Service Medal for his service in Korea. He received the medal for the first time on Wednesday, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable, active military service as a member of the armed forces.
The mayor of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, declared August 21, 2019 as Thomas Franklin Vaughns Day.
Also, he received replacements for four earlier medals he lost for his service in the wars.
"Just means that I've been a servant for the people that's what it means to me," Vaughns told CNN affiliate KARK.
As for living a long life, Vaughns said the secret is simple: no smoking and no alcohol.
"When you have the opportunity to go to school, stay in school," Vaughns offered as advice to young people. "When you come out ... come out with the idea of serving people."