CRESTVIEW — A Crestview Rehabilitation Center resident will be 104 years old Oct. 22.

The center is accepting birthday cards for Mary Richardson until Oct. 18 in hopes of surprising her with 104 of them during a party in her honor. Those who'd like to send a card may mail it to: Crestview Rehabilitation Center, c/o Susan Brannon, 1849 First Ave. E., Crestview, FL 32539.

A friend's words

Tracey Dollar, a friend of the Richardson family, has known Mary Richardson all her life. She and others refer to Richardson as "Granny."

This is what she had to say about the senior.

"When I was little, my family purchased milk from the dairy that she and her husband, John, had. However, it was not until I became an adult that I truly appreciated her to be who I like to call 'my personal angel on earth.'

"I have watched her go through many trials in her life, from the loss of children, her husband, and many close friends, as well as a lifestyle change of moving to a nursing home. Through all of these trials, she has relied on her faith in God to make it one day at a time. She starts every day off with her Bible study and devotion. You can drop by any time during the day and if she isn’t playing bingo then she is usually reading her Bible," Dollar said.

"She has said many times that she does not know why the Lord has kept her on this earth for so long, but I tell her it is because she is diligent to pray for so many every day. She makes sure to pray for not only her family members and friends but also for the workers at the nursing home where she stays because they help so many people," Dollar said.

Richardson talks to her sons, Jim and John, every night, which she says helps her sleep better, according to Dollar, and friends like Stan and Cathy Bacon visit Richardson regularly.

"Granny loves the 'little things' that most of us take for granted...We take what we call 'mini-vacations' that can be as simple as a trip to Walmart, where she is amazed at all of the products that are available, or I can take her to the farm and let her feed the chickens. If she can get her hands on a cat then she has had a wonderful day. She is still able to visit with her dog Shorty, who is close to 18 years old (126 in dog years) and still has a spring in his step like Granny," Dollar said.

She said Richardson has a great sense of humor, loves to laugh, and  is an active senior. "She is still hard to keep up with, and a few months ago she actually got on to me for holding onto her walker and trying to slow her down! I almost died laughing! She assured me that she walked every day without my assistance," Dollar said.

"Everybody loves her...Everyone seems to think that I am blessing her with spending time with her, but I am the one that gets the true blessing."

Note: A previous version of this article contained the Zip code, which was incorrectly typed, and incomplete title for Crestview Rehabilitation Center. The address to send birthday cards to is Crestview Rehabilitation Center, c/o Susan Brannon, 1849 First Ave. E., Crestview, FL 32539. The News Bulletin staff apologizes for these errors.