A local World War II veteran received the surprise of a lifetime for his 100th birthday on Saturday.

Emil Valentine from Rock Hill served in the 27th Infantry Division during World War II. During his time in the Pacific, Valentine encountered heavy fighting, was targeted by enemy fire several times on beaches and was attacked by kamikaze pilots.

When asked what this American hero wanted for his landmark birthday, he told his family that he always wanted birthday cards from around the U.S. and around the world. Hoping to make Valentine's dream come true, his family reached out to representative Sean Patrick Maloney. The congressman was touched by the request and made it his mission to make the local's vet wish a reality.

Maloney petitioned Americans across the country to send cards of love and thanks to Valentine for his big day and the outpouring of support was incredible. The congressman says that over 5,000 cards arrived from all 50 states and 27 different countries.

And the cards were just the start.

Twitter / Sean Patrick Maloney

On Saturday a surprise 100th birthday party was held for Valentine. The WWII veteran was presented with a flag flown over the capitol in his honor and a certificate handed to him by Representative Maloney.

In a post to his Twitter account, Maloney thanked the thousands of people who sent cards from around the world to Valentine, making "his birthday wish come true."


Is there a veteran in your life who you'd like to celebrate. Nominate them as a WPDH Vet Who Rocks. They could win a $500 gift card or our $10,000 grand prize.


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