A 104-year-old retired WWII U.S. Marine Corps veteran who put out a call asking to receive Valentine's Day cards never expected such an overwhelming global response.
Maj. Bill White, a resident at an assisted living facility in Stockton, California, has received over 300,000 cards and gifts from all over the world.
"The gifts include handmade quilts, blankets, artwork, cups, mugs, military memorabilia, challenge coins, hats, T-shirts, candy, scrapbook items, custom-made walker with military colors," Diane Wright, executive director of The Oaks at Inglewood where White resides, told ABC News. "The list goes on and on. And mail is still coming."
In January, White launched "Operation Valentine" asking to receive Valentine's Day cards from strangers around the world.
White said he hopes to save all the cards he receives so they can be a part of his history.
White spent 30 years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received a Purple Heart on Mar. 3, 1946, for surviving the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945 when he was stationed in Japan.
After returning to the U.S. and starting a family, White worked as a police officer. Throughout his entire life, one of his favorite hobbies has been scrapbooking. Every year, White organized his memories and milestones into binders.
- 1November 28, 2018
"This started way back," White said. "My mother, parents taught me to conserve and observe memories as much as possible."
Enter the Valentine's Day cards to add his 2020 scrapbook.
Wright said that they never thought White's call out for cards was "going to go viral."
One card reads, "Dear Major Bill White ... Thank you for your service to our country we are proud of your accomplishments and love of country. You are amazing and an inspiration to our Marine who is currently serving."
Besides scrapbooking, White enjoys walking around the community, and playing bingo and cards to keep busy, Wright said. He still wears his Marine uniform that he has had for about 66 years, and he's often visited at the facility by friends from the Marines.
White might be retired, but said he will always be a tough Marine: "They could call me back if they needed me for something."
If you are looking to add to "Operation Valentine" and be a part of White’s history, you can mail valentines to:
ATTN: Hold for Maj. Bill White, USMC (Ret.)
The Oaks at Inglewood
6725 Inglewood Ave.
Stockton, CA 95207
Editor's Note: This story was originally posted on January 24, 2020.