It’s been about a year since COVID-19 lockdowns began, which means we’ve all experienced one birthday under social distancing rules.
But while you can’t throw a big party, people have still found clever ways to celebrate the birthdays of their friends and loved ones.
And when one veteran celebrated his incredible 101st birthday, his community showed their love in a big way.
James McPherson, a US Army veteran who served in Italy during World War II, celebrated his 101st birthday on February 26. While reaching that age is a big achievement, it seemed there would be no big celebration.
McPherson lives in an assisted care facility in South Carolina, and coronavirus precautions meant he wouldn’t be able to have a party or even see his family, WPDE reported.
But when a family friend named Bob Henry heard about this, he stepped up to help.
“I said well we have to do something for the man’s birthday he’s going to be 101 so I just got the word out on Facebook,” Bob Henry told WPDE.
He knew that people in the community, who know McPherson as “Mr. Bob,” would be happy to help, so he asked that they sent the vet birthday cards to celebrate his big day.
But no one expected such a huge outpouring of support. After sharing the story online with Joe’s mailing address, word spread quickly and hundreds of people sent greeting cards to his retirement home.
Soon, McPherson had over 1,000 cards, which he proudly displayed around his room.
Letters came from all over, like a class of 5th graders:
And a local woodcrafter, who made the vet his own personalized, engraved plaque:
Bob was moved by the huge outpouring of support. Cards kept coming in, not just from the community but from around the country.
“I know there’s been a lot of back and forth hatred and that kind of stuff in the country and I think it just shows that there is a lot of kindness out there too and it warms my heart as a Christian that there are some people that still have that love in their heart for others,” he said.
But the greeting cards were just the start. McPherson also got to celebrate his birthday with what has become a classic ritual of our socially-distant era, the “drive-by birthday.”
People drove by the retirement home with McPherson sitting outside, and greeted him with signs, thanking him for his service and wishing him a happy 101st birthday:
It’s heartwarming to see so many people come out to support this veteran on his big day. Thank you to everyone who sent a card or drove by the retirement home — you definitely made this vet’s birthday special!
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