New Year’s Day a major milestone for Wythe County man and his family

Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 7:25 PM EST
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WYTHE CO., Va. (WDBJ) - New Year’s Day 2021 holds special significance for a family in Wythe County. H. W. Brackens celebrated his 100th birthday Friday, with five generations by his side.

A fire truck took the lead, as a long line of family and friends brought the party and a parade to H.W. Brackens’ home in Wythe County.

H.W., or Bob as many people know him, sat in a warm SUV, and said it was a wonderful way to celebrate his centennial.

“Most of these people are kin to me,” Brackens told WDBJ7 in an interview. “Got to see ‘em again.”

Brackens was born in Wythe County, but spent many years in the Washington area, returning more than 30 years ago.

Today, the family operates Brackens Trout Hatchery, established in the 1870s as the nation’s first federal fish hatchery.

“I’ve always felt good all my life, never was sick,” Brackens said. “And I just seem to get along good. I eat right and I took care of myself, work like hell.”

Five generations including some family members from Florida and northern Virginia gathered for the occasion. The group of about 50 included a great great grandson who is one and a half years old.

“He’s seen it all,” said Brackens’ son Bob, " the Depression, World War II, every kind of boom and bust the country’s had, he’s seen it all.”

“Very thankful to have him on his 100th birthday,” said daughter Faye Brackens. “And as he says, he’s working on his 200th.”

“We’ll close with his favorite saying and I’ll clean it up the best I can,” added son Dale Brackens. “When it gets rough, boy you’ve got to kick it in the butt and keep on going.”

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