Lexington WWII veteran receives thousands of cards for 100th birthday

Social media plea for 100 cards went viral

LEXINGTON, Va. – Ray Painter wanted 100 cards for his 100th birthday, but he got far more than that.

The Lexington World War II veteran celebrated his birthday Sunday with more than 7,500 cards. They came from all 50 states and countries such as England, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.

The cards came rolling in after Painter's assisted living facility, The Mayflower, posted a picture on Facebook asking for cards in mid-April. The picture has since been shared thousands of times.

"This feels wonderful," Painter said. "It makes me feel a whole lot younger than I am."

Some people sent Painter more than cards. He received several mementos relating to his Army service, and someone sent him a very special pair of socks.

"Somebody put my picture on them and mailed them to me," Painter said. "I don't know how I got them."

Painter's son, Thad, said he's grateful his dad's wish could bring the country together in a small way, even though his dad still misses what he loves most.

"He looked at me and said 'What would your mom have thought of this?'" Thad Painter recalled. "I said, 'I don't know.' She would have said 'Ray, this is too much.'"

Ray Painter's hometown of Lexington also declared May 5 Ray Painter Day in his honor.


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