105-year-old WWII vet from St. John Valley receives over 1,500 birthday cards

2 weeks ago

MADAWASKA, Maine – Armand Martin, a World War II Veteran, turned 105 on March 1. Since then, he has received over 1,500 cards from people in Maine, the United States, and from as far as Germany and China wishing him a happy birthday.

Martin is currently staying at Country Village Estates, a Madwaska-based retirement and assisted living facility. Paula Gendreau, the facility’s activity director, said she has never seen anything like this before.

Gendreau said the letters started coming in when Joy Lewis Asuncion, who serves on the Honor Flight Maine Board of Directors, shared on Facebook that Martin, along with two other World War II Veterans, are celebrating birthdays in March. Martin was among the oldest of the three, which also included 103-year-old U.S. Coast Guard Veteran Edgar Post and 101-year-old U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran Charles Whitney.

The post, which included addresses for people to send cards, was shared by hundreds of people and veteran organizations.

Martin was soon overwhelmed with over a thousand cards.

“He’s very touched,” said Gendreau. “He’s overwhelmed.”

MADAWASKA, Maine — Armand Martin, a 105-year-old World War II veteran, was among five veterans honored during a Jan. 15 ceremony at Country Village Estates in Madawaska (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

Gendreau said the cards are coming from a myriad of different sources, including schools, police and sheriff departments, and even U.S. Senator Angus King.The American Legion in Lincoln sent a flag for Martin. Others sent handmade crafts.

Martin, a St. John Valley native, was born in Frenchville on March 1, 1919. He joined the Civil Conservation Corps for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1944. Martin served as a staff sergeant. He was stationed off the coast of Rhode Island and helped set up mines to counter enemy submarines.

At one point, his tugboat was in a conflict with a German submarine. The German boat was destroyed and Martin was tasked with collecting debris, including sensitive materials, from the wreckage.

After the military, Martin married Yvette Michaud and together they raised five children. He also joined the American Legion Post #147 in 1944 and, 80 years later, he is still a member.

Gendreau said the sheer volume of cards coming in for Martin has led his family to come in and help with the mountain of mail.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gendreau said. “He’s so grateful. He never thought it would go to this extent.”