102 years old and counting

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George Campbell [center] is joined by Willow Springs staff and members of the Brick Township Police Department [COURTESY OF BRICK TOWNSHIP POLICE]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — George Campbell has seen plenty. He’s survived two world wars, the second of which he fought in; he’s lived through the terms of 18 U.S. presidents; and now, in his 102nd year, he’s experienced the power of the Internet.

The staff of Willow Springs Rehab and Healthcare Center, located on Burnt Tavern Road, posted a photo on its Facebook page on Sept. 27 of Mr. Campbell holding a
sign asking for a unique gift to celebrate his birthday: 102 birthday cards.

The post quickly went viral, garnering over 1,300 shares reaching all corners of the country and beyond.

Today, Mr. Campbell has received well over 2,500 birthday cards from all 50 states, Ireland, Mexico and Germany, his daughter Tricia Campbell McAvoy said on Wednesday.

“He doesn’t know the magnitude of the cards,” Ms. McAvoy said. “We give him a few to read each day.”

“It’s mind-boggling now,” Mr. Campbell said in an interview. “It’s sometimes hard to keep up with …”

The cards come from people of all walks of life. Some cards have come from children’s classrooms whose teachers heard of Mr. Campbell’s birthday request and turned it into a classroom project. He’s gotten cards from residents and staff of other rehab and health fa- cilities. He’s received cards from old friends and neighbors who remember Mr. Campbell from their own past.

This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.