There’s many in our community who have made huge impacts. We introduce you to Homer, Louisiana resident, Billy Bagwell.
“I could throw hard, back before we had guns to tell you how fast we can throw, ” says Bagwell. “I could throw aspirin tablets just about.”
94-year old and former Louisiana Tech and pro baseball player, Billy Bagwell, still doesn’t miss a beat to this day.
“First thing in the morning, I take a bath, ” Bagwell says. “And, then I have my coffee, and then I read my devotional. And, then I mowed an hour and a half. I have a zero turn mower. I can sit on it and ride. Then, I would work jigsaw puzzles for part of the day. Until I got sick, I fish everyday.”
The World War II veteran has fought so much throughout the years. As of late, he’s proven his latest test is no match for his strength and courage.
“I came up with bladder cancer in March , and I was operated on back then, ” says Bagwell. “Then, I had a heart attack. Took me 93 years to have a heart attack. But, I had a heart attack. Then, I had a urinary infection. Then, I spent seven days in ICU. And, then I had to go five weeks in a nursing home to build my strength back up.”
Despite these setbacks, Mr. Bagwell is still fighting the good fight.
“I do lot of exercise and I’ve got my exercise things here that I put working, ” says Bagwell. “I try to stay in shape. If I can get rid of this chemo to where I can walk again, I can do anything.”
However, he’s doing this without the love of his life, Mrs. Bagwell.
“She died nine years ago, from ALS, ” says Bagwell. “She had a slow disease.”
For 57 years, the love the Bagwells had could rival any fairy tale. As a result, the couple has two daughters, who are just one of the many colorful chapters in the life of Bill Bagwell. Growing up on a farm in Choudrant, Louisiana, Mr. Bagwell picked cotton. He’s the son of former Major League Baseball player, Bill Bagwell, Sr.
“It didn’t make any difference what it was, football, baseball, basketball, ping pong, I loved it, ” says an excited Bagwell.
His hard work led to playing baseball for Louisiana Tech. The former Bulldog has an illustrious memory of the former park.
“It was right across the railroad tracks from where the [stadium] is now and down towards the West towards Simsboro.”
His career later took him to the minors, where he continued playing baseball for nearly a decade. But, that came after playing the sport in Germany – during World War II.
“When I got in pro ball, I learned to pitch, ” says Bagwell. “And, I got started in the service. Once I learned to pitch, I did pretty good. [I[ won 145 ball games in my nine years, and I lost 87.”
Mr. Bagwell’s pitch to pitching in Germany wasn’t exactly by choice. However, the images from what he saw will forever live inside of him.
“I think what stands out to me, the most is how desparate and desolate the country was after the war, ” says Bagwell. “The devastation was terrible. That was my main thing. It hurt me.”
And, when he returned home.
“We landed in Camp Shanks, New York, ” says Bagwell. “I will never forget seeing the Statue of Liberty. That’s was one of the greatest things in the world, because I know I’d never see it again, because I wasn’t fighting or anything like that. But, you never know what’s going to happen. And, I was just a 19-year old kid, and that’s something to see.”
At 94-years-old, he’s still serving others to this day.
Since the early part of the 2000s, we have a group of men we all “The Men’s Christian Action Team,” says Bagwell. “We build wheelchair ramps for needy people here in [Claiborne] Parish. We have probably buily over 150. It’s so emotional.”
Despite of life’s hard fought battles, Billy Bagwell, is the hope we all need in our lives.
“I never have a bad day. I never have a headache in my life. Everyday is a holiday. It’s a wonderful world. That’s all I can tell you.”