Viral WWII veteran Joe Cuba celebrates birthday of the century

Local News

UPDATE: As of 1:00 p.m Friday, Joe Cuba has 81,606 birthday cards, 1,843 gifts and  Brookdale Midwestern is still receiving mail daily.

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Original Story: World War II veteran and viral sensation Joe Cuba turned 100 Saturday. After asking for 100 cards for his 100th birthday, he received much more than that.

Cuba’s actual birthday party was set to start at 2:30 p.m. but people started stopping by to tell Joe

Cuba happy birthday and give him gifts much earlier than that. He has received more than 50,000 cards and counting, including gifts from Major League Baseball, NASA, Nascar and even a letter from President Donald Trump. This overwhelming response is far more than anything Joe Cuba or his family ever expected.

When Cuba took that picture asking for birthday cards, he had no idea it would reach so many people.

“I didn’t expect many,” Cuba said. “It was a surprise that so many came and wished me good luck. Good blessings and I appreciated that.”
Those cards have been pouring in from not just all over the country, but all over the world.

“We opened an envelope that probably had 50 cards from Puerto Rico,” Brookdale Midwestern Executive Director Jarvis Polvado. “We’ve gotten a card that came from Hong Kong. Just a single card and they spent $300 to express mail it from Hong Kong, so he would get it in time for his birthday.”

March 2 has been declared Joe Cuba day in Wichita Falls and Mayor Stephen Santellana said we don’t honor people like Cuba as often as we should.

“It’s a celebration of people who have lived in a community this long that have given back to their country,” Santellana said. “We need to do this more often. We need to celebrate someone who has fought in a war or served this country, lived 100 years. We need to wrap our arms around that person every single time.”

Texas State Sen. Pat Fallon brought a flag flown over the State Capitol and a card signed by all the members of the State Senate and the Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

“We got 31 signatures in one day,” Texas State Senate District 30 Pat Fallon said. “You can’t get 31 state senators to sign anything in one day. Joe did that. Joe Cuba did that.”

Reel Heroes Media Bob Vincent brought Cuba gifts as part of a veterans group. Meeting Cuba was incredibly special for Vincent because of his family history

“We talked about being first-generation Americans actually,” Vincent said. “My father was a war refugee from Hungary. His father came from Czechoslovakia, so we got to bond on that as far as being here and how appreciative we are to be Americans. I got to let him know that I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him.”

Seeing all of this love and support from across the world made this a great day for Cuba’s family

“I’ve been following this from afar for the last couple of weeks because I don’t live nearby,” Cuba’s son Lee Cuba said. “I told my sister and my dad, I have been exhausted just watching it all come out in virtual reality and being here is even more overwhelming. It’s an unbelievable outpouring from every direction. So many people caring about my dad, my family and wanting to celebrate his landmark birthday with us.”

That emotion could be felt throughout the party all day long.

“Just walking into the building, for the last hour I have had an incessant smile on my face because we are seeing the best of humanity, and we are seeing the best that humanity has to offer,” Fallon said. “Joe Cuba is the bright shining star and deservedly so.”

Cuba said he is so thankful for everything that was done to celebrate his birthday.

“It’s real gracious of them,” Cuba said. “I appreciate it. And really I don’t deserve all the gifts and glory, but I accept it and I thank them for coming and wishing me well. That’s the best thing. I don’t have to have a lot of goodies as the saying goes, but I enjoy them.”

From a simple request for birthday cards to people from across the world helping a member of the greatest generation celebrate his 100th birthday.

Even though Joe Cuba has already received at least 50,000 cards, they expect even more to keep coming in over the next week or so.

A worldwide celebration of a lifetime.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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