(From left) John Adams, a grandson; Tabby Nevils, a granddaughter; Charles Purvis and other grandchildren walked Thursday morning. (Courier staff photo by Tali Hunt/thunt@madisoncourier.com)
(From left) John Adams, a grandson; Tabby Nevils, a granddaughter; Charles Purvis and other grandchildren walked Thursday morning. (Courier staff photo by Tali Hunt/thunt@madisoncourier.com)
Charles Purvis of Milton made his third annual trek across the Madison-Milton bridge Thursday on his 92nd birthday with his grandkids and great-grandkids.

Purvis has lived in Milton his entire life. Now, he lives on a farm near some of his grandchildren and keeps a large garden with his second wife.

“On his 90th birthday he said he hadn’t walked across the bridge since he was 15 and that he wanted to do it again before he died,” said Dorothy Knoff, Purvis’ granddaughter. “And, we’ve done it every year since.”

Purvis said he joined the army just three months into his marriage with his first wife.

“...I couldn’t stand married life; that’s us old folks,” he said with a laugh.

“I was in Okinawa at 18 in the 711 armored tank battalion,” said Purvis. “I just followed orders...I didn’t do anything heroic. I was there to do a job and that’s why I did what they told me.”

Each year a group of Purvis’ grandchildren join him for his walk.

“And, my great-grandson is 13 years old today,” said Purvis. “He’s got a long way to go.”

Purvis was talking about one of Knoff’s sons, Thomas, who has made the walk with Purvis each year so far.

His grandchildren said they are happy to make the walk with Purvis and will be ready to do so every year that he is up for it. Knoff explained that they always take Purvis’ walker, but he hasn’t used it once.

“Now, don’t ask me if I’m going to walk it on my 93rd because that’s 12 months away,” said Purvis.

Courier staff writer Tali Hunt can be reached at thunt@madisoncourier.com or 812-265-3641