Claudia Cantu, a World War II veteran in Texas, was 100 years old on Oct. 30. She got almost 800 cards for her birthday instead of 100 as expected.
“We have opened every single one and read almost every single one. We’re not finished yet,” Cantu’s daughter, Christine Magill, revealed.
Magill told Fox News that a woman in Cantu’s poker group came up with the idea to ask for 100 cards for Cantu’s birthday on Oct. 30, then she contacted a local TV station.
The Texas General Land Office brought the story online.
As a result, 787 birthday cards were sent to Cantu from across the country, as far away as Alaska and Canada. The youngest were second-grade students in Corpus Christi, who had learned a lesson about Cantu and her war experiences. Their teachers had them write cards to Cantu.
When she was 21, Cantu joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942, which was renamed the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and became a recognized part of the Army Air Forces one year later.
She wanted to serve in the army because she missed her two beloved brothers who had enlisted for the war. She felt like she was doing something to help, her daughter said.
Cantu left the WAC in 1946 and got married in 1947. Her husband was her high school friend and he had also served in the war. Together, they had four children.
Cantu was still strong and quick to enjoy her birthday parties. One was with her four-generation family; one was a surprise lunch with her poker group, and one was a dinner with other relatives.
An artist is also working on a portrait of Cantu, and local residents surprised her by a mini parade past her house on her birthday, Magill said.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” Magill said. “It was a lot of fun. … She’s just been a little overwhelmed with everything.”
Magill found that her mother did not think she was worth having that much because there were other veterans out there.
The family is very proud of the veteran.
“Look at the legacy that you have left with your children, which has grown into your grandchildren, which has now been passed on to your great grandchildren. That legacy will just continue to live on,” Magill said to her mother.