The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Ralph Henderson remembers a time when he went home from grade school without any Valentine’s day cards.
“It hurt me, if you want to know the truth,” Henderson, 82, said of that day back in first or second grade.
His family wanted to make sure this Valentine’s Day was a memorable one for the Port Neches man who is battling stage four colon cancer. So, with some help from social media, family members reached out with the request — to shower Henderson with thousands of Valentine’s Day cards. The request went viral.
Earlier this week Henderson began to receive cards in the mail and on Friday the family and friends gathered at his home laden with cards from across the area.
“It was worth the wait,” he said with a smile as he sifted through the cards both large and small.
Henderson received cards from Cheer FX/Full FX, Port Neches Middle School Life Skills class, Port Neches Elementary School, Port Neches-Groves High School football team and girl’s basketball team, First Christian Church, Central Baptist Church in Port Arthur, Orangefield Elementary School, Bridge City Elementary School, Hillcrest Elementary School, Magnolia Church, SFA cheerleaders and Grace Bible School in Nacogdoches, daughter Darla Jones said.
“Last week we asked my dad to make a bucket list of things he wanted to do,” Jones said in an e-mail to the Port Arthur News. “He said he did not have a bucket list, he just wanted to spend time with his daughters and grandkids.”
Henderson was the oldest child of nine kids and as the eldest he helped his mother raise his siblings, Jones added.
Dana Kyler, a daughter, described her father’s personality.
“He’s the type of guy to give you the shirt off his back. He’s always giving to others so for him, to receive all these cards, it’s very humbling,” Kyler said.
Henderson’s family and friends circled him as he sorted through the many cards, snapping photos and shooting video of the special moment.
“I’m not going to be able to go through all these today,” he said with a laugh.