James South, a veteran of World War II and a resident of the Brookdale Senior Living Facility in Watauga, Texas is turning 100 years old on Monday.
To mark the momentous milestone, he had a special request that would require a little help. He wanted 100 birthday cards, one for each year of his life.
So he smiled for a picture, wearing a name tag and a “World War II veteran” hat, and holding up a red sign bearing a message:
“Hello! My name is James South and I am a proud WWII veteran! I will be turning 100 on October 7th, 2019. I would like to receive 100 birthday cards.”
The Brookdale facility in Watauga, a suburb of Fort Worth, posted the picture on its Facebook page along with the text of the sign and a message of their own: “Let’s help James reach his goal for his most special year yet! Please be sure to share this post and tell a friend!”
That was on the evening of Sept. 19.
In the more than two weeks since that post, more than 3,500 people have shared it and more than 450 people have left a comment underneath. Several people said they will be sending him a card.
“Mr. South, I hope you get thousands of cards,” one comment reads. “I am mailing you a card from Southwest Florida, Naples.”
“Happy birthday, Mr. South!” another reads. “A card is headed your way. Thank you so much, sir, for your sacrifice for our country.”
The comments section is filled with people from all over the country expressing their gratitude for his military service, or wishing him a happy birthday from where they live, or bringing up their own family members who fought in World War II.
“Something tells me he’ll get more than 100 birthday cards!” one person commented.
The post has become one of the senior living facility’s most popular, bringing together a community of people who want to help a 99-year-old veteran ring in 100 in a big way.
South’s son, Jim South, told CNN his father grew up in northeast Texas in a large family of sharecroppers and joined the Army in 1940. He was deployed to Normandy one week after D-Day, according to CNN.
His girlfriend, Sophie, reportedly wrote him frequent letters during his service, and the pair eventually married. She died in 2001, Jim South told CNN, after 55 years of marriage.
He said in the CNN story he plans to celebrate his father’s birthday over the course of three days by playing golf, eating chicken-fried steak and catfish and spending time with family.
Anyone who wants to send a letter to the soon-to-be-100-year-old should address it to 5800 North Park Dr., Watauga, TX 76148.
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