RADCLIFF, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Radcliff man has finally achieved his dream at 76 years old.

George Hillyer has opened up his very own brick and mortar store in the Radcliff plaza on North Dixie Boulevard. The Vietnam veteran opened Blackhawk Trading Post on Monday, the result of decades of passion, that turned into a hobby, that is now a reality.

“It makes me feel real good, because I didn’t think I’d ever get that far," Hillyer said. "With my wife’s help and everything, I’ve got what I wanted. I have been dreaming about this for years.”

Hillyer fought in Vietnam then quickly became a drill sergeant. After the war, he and his wife would often take trips to South Dakota, where he found his second love: Native American culture.

He knew retirement and golf was not for him and took up a hobby of handcrafting his own versions of Native American items he saw on vacation.

“I made the spears, I made my shield and things like that, because, to me, you have to have the spirit to make these things,” Hillyer said, adding that he spends several hours a day also making jewelry.

Making the jewelry is a tedious task, not unlike the years it took to open the store.

“Penny … to penny … to penny," Hillyer said. "To get things, it takes a long time."

But Hillyer continues to face another challenge: cancer. Because of his health, he worried the job would be too much to handle. After finally getting his own store, his new goal is to build up his new business for his daughter so she can eventually take it over. 

“This is something I enjoy, and this is making me feel a lot better, and I love it," he said, holding back tears. "You have to keep going. You don’t quit. You just can’t give up."

The Blackhawk Trading Post is located at 835 North Dixie Avenue and will have its grand opening at noon on April 24.

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