There's a Fairhaven woman who's about to achieve two things at the same time. Louise Quintin wants to make everyone aware of a World War II Tuskegee Airman, whose only birthday wish is to receive a birthday card from you for his 100th birthday on May 21st.

It sounds easy enough, but behind this kind gesture, she's giving life to the memory of her brother who was killed in hostile action.

"I'm doing this to help retired Sgt. Victor W. Butler get as many birthday cards possible," Quintin said. "We lost my brother, PFC John Conway, at 18 years old in Vietnam. He went over January 6, 1967 and on St. Patrick's Day, (and) two months later, John became a war casualty."

Courtesy Louise Quintin
Courtesy Louise Quintin
Courtesy Louise Quintin
Courtesy Louise Quintin
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Sensing a bit of uneasiness in her voice, she said, "Can you hear my voice? It's already cracking."

The emotion is understandable considering the weight of the task at hand.

"Sgt. Butler's turning 100 years old and wants to hear from people he doesn't know. I want him to get so many cards, the post office won't know what to do!" she said.

As depicted in the movie Red Tails, these famous and historic pilots escorted the larger bomber planes. The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who volunteered to become America's first Black military airmen, and proved beyond anything, that Black men could fly advanced aircraft in combat as well as their white counterparts in a segregated military.

Quintin is determined to spread the word.

"I called Vietnam Vets Chapter 499 – they're going to help," she said. "I'm getting such great cooperation from Beth David at Fairhaven Neighborhood News, the Fairhaven Housing Authority is putting out flyers, Senior Scope, the VFW, my church and even my cardiologist. Why? Because we must honor all our veterans. It's our duty to make sure they are forever honored, and never forgotten."

One more important thing: the U.S. Congress authorized $29 million in 1998 to develop the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, with Tuskegee University, Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and the National Park Service serving as partners in its development. To date, a mere $3.6 million has been appropriated for the site's implementation.

Please send cards to:

Victor W. Butler C/O Gary Butler
P.O. Box 3523
Cranston, R.I. 02910

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

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