TYLER, Texas — An East Texas veteran and former prisoner of war wants to celebrate his 100th birthday in a special way.
Every day, Archie Thomas, World War II Army Air Corp veteran and POW, likes to sit out in the patio and enjoy the weather.
"I was born in Hearne, Texas. I grew up basically in Palestine or around Palestine," Thomas said.
But what you may not know is that Archie Thomas turns 100 years old next Wednesday.
Ahead of the milestone, he recalled becoming the sole survivor when flying with a 10-man crew.
"We were flying roughly 20,000 feet which is about five miles up. And the Germans hit us with their fighter planes. And our aircraft was hit, caught on fire, and went down," Thomas said.
He was awarded the Purple Heart in 2014 for his service. He remembered a Dutchman helping him getting to a train.
"We went down, our control walls that way. And I got on the ground. I didn't get very far no. [A] Dutchman came up to me and he said 'your years of war's over,' Thomas said. "'Yes sir.' He took me in town, waited for the train, and when the train got there, they put me on a train and I went to Frankfurt. Now it's been about a week there and then they putting me on a train. I went to Stalag 17 B."
He also remembered having a favorite rooster as a kid and his mother killed it for her birthday dinner.
But moving forward, Thomas isn’t asking for a huge celebration for his birthday. All he wants is 100 birthday cards for his 100th birthday.
So, CBS 19 wanted to be a part of the birthday wishes and deliver a card as well.
"Next week is your birthday. So from the CBS19 family we wanted to give you a little birthday card here for you," I said.
"Happy birthday from the CBS19 family to Archie," Thomas said. "Happy 100…am I going to be 100? Oh my goodness…'thank you for the service'…well thank y’all."
Thomas shared a little secret on how to make it to the milestone.
"My suggestions, serve God and do right to your fellow man," Thomas said.
CBS19 wants to make Archie’s birthday wish come true, so if you’d like to send him a birthday card, you can mail those to the Watkins-Logan Stater Veterans Home:
c/o Watkins-Logan Texas State Veterans Home
11466 Honor Lane
Tyler, TX 75708