Thousands of Strangers Help Celebrate Marine Vet's 90th Birthday

In honor of his 90th birthday this past weekend, Harold Krueger, a US Marine veteran who served the country through three wars, was treated with thousands of cards, letters, and gifts from people around the world.

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Harold lost his wife LaVina a month ago after a 63-year marriage, and as she was the event planner of the family, his daughter Debra Turner came up with a clever way to celebrate in lieu of a party. Debra, who lives with her family in Wishek, South Dakota, posted a note on her Facebook page asking friends to send him cards, and it was shared over 650 times across social media.

The result was a post office box that is exploding!

"It has been a phenomenal response, it touched him so much," Debra tells the Good News blog. "The highlight of his day every day is going to get the mail at the post office. It's usually just bills and magazines, so I was trying to think what to do and I knew it would mean a lot to him to get mail. It never occurred to me it would be reposted, or shared. If I had known, I would have written the post better!"

Yet Debra's words seem to have resonated, as did Harold's long history serving the country. He joined the Marines at the age of 18, and served in World War II, the Korean War and in Vietnam. He also assisted in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was part of the Secret Service in the Nixon era.

When Harold lost LaVina suddenly last month, Debra felt he needed some cheering up, as LaVina had been planning a big get together in his honor.

"My mom was an entertainer, but I am not," Debra admits.

Even so, Debra found a way to bring something amusing and apropos to the table, and her father has certainly appreciated the gesture. She says he reads every card that comes in, and the two of them spend each afternoon going through who they need to write back to and send thank you notes.

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"Some of the ones who have real touching stories, we have to write back to," Debra remarks. "One was a WWII vet who apologized for typing his letter because he could no longer used a pen. My dad was really moved… the ones from the kids are sweet too. One wrote, 'I hear you went to Cuba to help with the crisis, that was nice of you!'"

The outpouring has generated much happiness for Harold. He and LaVina had two daughters, four grandchildren, and five great grand children together after a long and happy marriage.

"It was a friendship, a partnership, a support," Debra explains. "They wrote to each other every single day when he was overseas. My mother had kind of a fiery temper sometimes, and my father learned a long time ago, keep your mouth shut. But they both respected each other, they were both killer bridge players, they were competitive, they did everything together."

Debra says her mom would approve of the 90th card-giving festivities.

She comments, "My mom would have loved it…She loves attention!"

If you'd like to send Harold a card (even a bit belated), you can mail it to this address: Harold Krueger, P.O. Box 176, Wishek, ND 58495.

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