WWII Vet Asks for 100 Birthday Cards, Mailman Brings Him More Than 50,000


Be careful what you wish for — especially if you’re a military veteran and 99 years old.

Joe Cuba — not to be confused with the famous conga drummer of the same name who passed in 2009 — had a birthday wish he thought was simple enough.

The World War II veteran requested 100 cards for his 100th birthday via a handwritten sign shared in a Facebook post. As of Saturday, he received 500 times that amount: upward of 50,000, according to KFDX/KJTL.

“I didn’t expect many,” the humble Cuba said from the Wichita Falls, Texas, assisted living facility where he initially posed with the sign on Feb. 19.

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Since that time, communication about his birthday has been virtually continuous, with incoming calls and emails from teachers, medical businesses and even Fox News.

Cuba’s wish, in fact, resonated around the globe, as he received cards from the isle of Ireland to Puerto Rico to China.

Jarvis Polvado, the executive director of Brookdale Midwestern assisted living facility, said one special delivery arrived from Hong Kong — and the sender “spent $300 to express mail it” so the card wasn’t late.

Closer to home, birthday-related correspondence also came courtesy of NASA and President Trump, the latter of whom penned a letter to the celebrant.

If Cuba is prone to feeling lonely in his twilight years, that couldn’t have been the case Saturday, when his home was teeming with visitors — not the least of which included his overworked mailman, who dropped off thousands of more posts than usual.

Although many U.S. military veterans are overlooked or underappreciated, that was an impossibility as Cuba approached the century mark.

Texas Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana even proclaimed March 2 as Joe Cuba Day.

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There was also military presence with presents: Bob Vincent, president of Reel Heroes Media, surprised the ex-staff sergeant with assorted offerings on behalf of one Armed Forces group.

In addition, dozens of Texas lawmakers — state Governor Greg Abbott among them — literally had a hand in the party, signing a gigantic card.

Cuba was also feeling the love via social media, thanks to the retirement community’s Facebook page.

The viral story stemmed from Brookdale Midwestern employee Stephanie Veitenheimer, who took the photograph that ignited what has amounted to a two-week worldwide celebration.

Clearly, Cuba’s 101st birthday next March 2 has a tough act to follow.

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James Luksic has been a writer and editor for a panoply of publications and websites for 30 years.
James Luksic has been a writer and editor for a panoply of publications, corporations and websites -- including Montecito Journal, Dayton Daily News and Lexis-Nexis -- for 30 years.