SCOTTSBURG, Ind. — It's one thing to turn 100 years old. It's another to get the whole world to celebrate you. That may be bit of a stretch, but that's certainly what it felt like for one Scottsburg senior preparing for his biggest birthday yet.
Bethel Killman turns 100 on Sunday, but March has turned into a total birthday month for him. The WWII veteran's family knew they wanted to do something fun for him, but had no clue how quickly a social media post would take things to a whole other level.
On March 3, Killman's family members posted a picture of him with a blue poster board and a simple request. He wanted 100 birthday cards by his 100th birthday. That post got shared hundreds of thousands of times all over the world, and letters and well wishes came rolling in.
Killman said he now has more than 6,300 cards — some coming from as far away as Ireland and Scotland, others signed from notable Americans like President George W. Bush. His family said they've spent hours a day opening up the cards, and they don't expect to stop any time soon.
"People are actually writing stories. I mean, they'll fill up a whole inside of a card, how their fathers or grandfathers or great grandfathers were in WWII at the Battle of the Bulge, and it feels like we're just family. It's overwhelming,” one family member said. “We wanted to read all of the cards, but we don't really have time right now. We have to get them all open. We'll probably surpass 10,000 easily.”
Killman's family is having a big birthday bash for him on Sunday, March 17 at the Hardy's Cafe in Scottsburg starting at 2 p.m., and everyone is invited.
The family said Killman has received cards from every state except Hawaii and Alaska. If anyone has friends or family in the two states, WHAS11 would love their help! Killman lives at the Hampton Oaks Health Campus in Scottsburg. His address is listed below:
966 N. Wilson Road