PAYSON (ABC4 News) – Mail carriers in Payson have been working a little harder the past few weeks, all because of an Army veteran’s recent birthday.
World War II era veteran John Frey just wanted 101 birthday cards for his 101st birthday. So far he’s received more than 8000.
John Rudolph Frey was born in Ogden on June 7th, 1918 and drafted into the Army in 1942. He served as a mechanic at Fort Dix, New Jersey fixing vehicles headed to Europe. Now the longtime Manti resident, father of six and grandfather of 11 lives at the Mervyn Sharp Bennion Veterans Home in Payson. A granddaughter’s Facebook post led to local media coverage then after the Associated Press picked up the story boxes of cards started pouring in.
John’s daughter Janice Carlson reads the cards to him.
“There’s at least one from every state so all 50 states plus Washington DC and 12 countries,” Carlson told ABC4 News Tuesday. “And the countries are counting because as we come across the APO addresses they’re coming from…we just opened one today it was Korea and there was a Germany and I don’t think that those 2 were on the list of the 12 countries.”
There are Hallmark cards and homemade cards…cards from famous politicians, classes of schoolkids and squadrons of servicemen and women.
“It says ‘The secret of a life well lived is not in counting the years but in making the years count’,” Carlson reads.
“I appreciate ’em I tell ya,” Frey said.
“We’re just really amazed at people’s generosity and their desire to show how much they care,” Carlson said. “The love that they show in these cards and the ones the kids have written, they’re more than just a picture on them. It puts a spot in your heart that just will be there forever.”
Now the only problem for Mr. Frey is figuring out how he’s going to top all of this next year when he turns 102 but Carlson jokes that he may still be reading this year’s cards by then.
If you’d like to send him a card, his address is:
John R. Frey
c/o Bennion Veterans Home
1551 North Main Street
Payson, UT 84651