James McPherson who is commonly referred to as "Mr. Joe" was born Feb. 26, 1920, in Marion, where he and his father owned a shoe repair shop.
He's a World War II veteran living in an assisted living facility in Lake View who won't be able to see his family for his 101st birthday. So, on Saturday on behalf of Bob Henry, a close family friend of Mr. Joe asked community members to send birthday cards to his retirement home.
Less than a week later he has over 1,000 birthday cards lining the walls and windows in his bedroom. Some of the cards were from different states.
Henry said it's amazing to see how many people came together to honor the World War II veteran.
“I know there’s been a lot of back and forth hatred and that kind of stuff in the country and I think it just shows that there is a lot of kindness out there too and it warms my heart as a Christian that there are some people that still have that love in their heart for others," Henry said.
He came up with the idea for people to send Mr. Joe birthday cards after he found out that due to COVID-19 restrictions Mr. Joe may not have a birthday celebration.
“I said well we have to do something for the man’s birthday he’s going to be 101 so I just got the word out on Facebook," Henry said.
So at 100 years old, what does Mr. Joe like to do? Henry said a lot.
“His favorite thing to do is word search. He could sit there for hours and do those. He loves old westerns on TV. He loves to tell me his stories about World War II and driving the bulldozer," Henry said.
Henry said there are also a few things that surprise Mr. Joe. Like the fact that planes can fly.
One more thing that will surprise Mr. Joe is the birthday celebration Henry planned for his 101st birthday on Friday. It's a celebration he said anyone can attend.
“We’re going to do a drive-thru celebration at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Thornes and if you want to come you can come and join in the parade. I'm hoping the more cars the merrier. Make your sign and happy 101 birthday and just join in the parade," Henry said.
Henry said Mr. Joe will be on the sidewalk and people can just drive by and wave.
The drive through parade will be held on Friday at 4 p.m. at the following address:
Thorne Retirement Home
702 West 3rd Avenue
Lake View, SC 29563
You can also send any birthday cards to that address as well and just address to James McPherson.