86-Year-Old Korean War Veteran Recovers From COVID-19

Monday, January 4th 2021, 10:27 pm
By: Craig Day

TULSA, Okla. -

A Tulsa man in his 80s shares his story after recovering from COVID-19.

The Korean war veteran spent more than three weeks in the hospital fighting the virus and urges Oklahomans to be cautious but not live in fear.

Many titles can describe 86-year-old Charles Cotner. These days, he's mostly known as paw-paw to three grandsons.

A loving dad to his daughter, a dedicated husband to his wife Jan, who mostly goes by Nana these days. They've been married 54 years.

But long before his wedding day, the self-described country boy from Liberty Mounds answered the call when his country needed him joining the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Cotner said he didn't like farm work much anyway.

"It was something I think everybody should experience, every young man anyway,” Cotner said.

Cotner was only 19 when he became a Marine, and a year out of high school where he had a graduating class of 13 students.

"Oh, I was adventerous, wanting to see the world anyway you know, I guess,” Cotner said.

Cotner’s military adventure ended after three years. He eventually went to college and became a teacher.

"You know you hope you're helping them,” Cotner said.

Cotner taught for 27 years, mostly business-related classes.

"I do meet some of the students and they still remember. Some of them appreciate it, and I'm sure there are some that do not,” Cotner said.

A small-town boy, Marine veteran, father, grandfather, teacher, but Cotner has one more thing that can be attached to his name: recovered COVID-19 patient."

Cotner was in a rehab facility recovering from a broken hip at the end of July. While in rehab, he got COVID-19.

"I've never seen so many medical personnel, coming from all different directions. They wanted to see this COVID case,” Cotner said.

Cotner ended up in isolation, but he never had to be on a ventilator.

"For some people I think it would be very scary, but others would not think of it that way. It's just something in life you've got to beat,” Cotner said.

After three and a half weeks, he beat it, and was well enough to be released from the hospital.

Cotner said he'll always be grateful to his medical team.

"At my age, I really don't worry about things like that. I've lived a full life, so what will be will be."

This member of the greatest generation beat a virus like nothing we've seen in multiple generations. So, here's another description for Cotner: fighter.