While aimlessly scrolling on social media, a post with photos of two World War II veterans popped up on my feed. Their demeanor and smiles caught my attention. Not knowing either, I scrolled back to see who made the post. It was a reshare from Joy Asuncion. The post was a request for people to send cards for milestone birthdays. Mainers Paul C. was turning 104 and Ed H. was going to be 103. I instantly reached out to Joy to learn more.

Joy is on a mission to make sure veterans are not forgotten through a variety of programs. A retired veteran herself, she volunteers with Honor Flight, is a Trooper Greeter at the Bangor Airport, and of course is the Birthday Card Lady. Her devotion to serve her fellow veterans is far greater than a simple act of kindness.

Because of her compassion, we, at One Community Many Voices (OCMV) were quick to join in and promote the birthday card requests through our network. Readers from MaineStay Media papers, elementary school children, businesses, and individuals far and wide mailed 12,000+ birthday cards collectively to these two veterans!

Many who sent cards shared the personal impact it had on them. Teachers used it as an opportunity to teach about the importance of Veterans Day. Families made cards and talked about what it means to be a veteran. Others shared how mailing a card made them smile.

A local Korean War veteran shared in an email. “Mailing birthday cards may seem old fashion in today’s world but for veterans it’s similar to ‘Mail Call’ while on active duty. Long before the internet and cell phones, a letter was the only way to keep in touch with back home. Receiving a letter gave you hope that somewhere in the world you still mattered to someone. Sending birthday cards to veterans especially to us old guys, makes us feel like we are not invisible or forgotten.”

We have a mantra at One Community Many Voices – Every act of kindness, no matter how simple, has the potential to create a ripple effect that reaches far beyond the initial encounter. The Birthday Card Lady reminds us that despite how busy our lives are – taking a few minutes to mail a card shows a person that they still matter and that in itself provides happiness.

If you would like to send birthday cards to veterans, or would like to learn about other opportunities to support Veterans – sign up for the Simple Acts of Kindness newsletter at onecommunitymanyvoices.org