STOCKTON (CBS13) — A local veteran asked for a few cards for the coming Valentine’s Day — little did he know that people would deliver on his request in a big way.
Major Bill White, 104, has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and gratitude from people around the world.
“I can’t think of one word or sentence to describe how I feel because I don’t know how I feel myself to tell the truth,” White said. “I am speechless.”
For Valentine’s Day, the marine veteran had one wish — to receive just a few Valentine’s Day cards.
“When it first started, I thought maybe we’d get 100 or a thousand at most,” White said. “I never expected the amount of cards we got.”
Operation Valentine turned out to be a huge success. Major White has already received over 25,000 cards and gifts from people around the globe thanking him for his service, some greetings coming from as far as Brazil and Japan.
“Gifts, a lot of handmade items, cards are coming from schools. Locally, fire departments, police departments. A lot of handmade stuff,” White said. “And the cards are not only signed but written messages on it. It’s just overwhelming.”
And some of those cards were made by the children in Mr. Funges’ 3rd-grade class at Larson Elementary School in Lodi.
“Makes me feel good inside because he fought in the war for us so I wanted to make him happy by making a valentines day card,” young Nolan Palicio said.
Another student read what they wrote on their card to White: “You are brave, you are kind, you are a hero.”
And a hero he is. White served as a marine for thirty years, receiving numerous gold medals. He wears them all with honor, but there’s one medal that stands out among the rest — his purple heart, which he received in 1945.
“Others were where I was or [did] what I did,” White said. “But this one is something special.”
And while Bill will never forget Valentine’s Day 2020, there’s one other thing he will also never forget — The Marines’ Hymn.