Local News


Local veteran and POW inspires teen to join the Marines

Posted at 4:57 PM, Sep 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-23 19:35:49-04

Nevadans recently honored former prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action.

13 Action News spoke with one of our own local heroes whose story has inspired others to serve our country.     

"I got some touch up to do at the bottom."

Dean Whitaker is always busy.

"I swim everyday."

He's far more active and stronger than many people his age.

"I am 93."

But it only makes sense. After all, this former Army 2nd Lieutenant survived Germany after being captured by Nazis.

He was just 19 years old.

"The German civilians were shooting at me."

He met Lucille and married her shortly after he was freed. 70 years later, they're still together.

"Life has been very good to me."

Karina Sachs helps in taking care of Dean and Lucille. Over the years her son, Emiliano, formed a bond with Dean.

His story was the last push Emiliano needed to join the Marines, telling his mother: "This country gave me a lot. and I want to return it with something."

Dean and Emiliano continue to talk. The veteran and former prisoner of war constantly giving the 19-year-old marine advice.

Dean once thought death was coming for him in Nazi Germany.

But here he is today. telling his story and inspiring others. 

"Enjoy that life and take care of everybody."